Tortoise Trafficking Raging Out of Control in Madagascar

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Cowboy_Ken

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Conservation groups urge authorities to clamp down on black market trade- Since the beginning of the year, more than 1,000 individual tortoises have been seized from would-be smugglers

NEW YORK (May 2, 2013) — Illegal trafficking of two critically endangered tortoise species from Madagascar has reached epidemic proportions, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Turtle Survival Alliance, Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership, Turtle Conservancy, Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund and other groups who urge authorities to clamp down on wildlife smuggling before some species are collected out of existence.

According to the groups, more than 1,000 radiated and ploughshare tortoises have been confiscated from smugglers in the first three months of 2013 alone. In late March, 54 ploughshare tortoises made it as far as Thailand before being seized by authorities. A recent report by TRAFFIC states that the radiated tortoise is now the most common tortoise for sale in Bangkok's infamous Chatuchak wildlife market.

The groups say that since the beginning of Madagascar’s continuing political crisis in 2009, smuggling has increased by at least ten-fold due to weak governance and rule-of-law. In addition, erosion of cultural protection of the tortoises for short term monetary gain has contributed to their sharp decline. In the past, tortoises were protected by “fady” – a local belief that harming the tortoises is taboo. However, with years of drought and increasing levels of poverty, people from regions outside the tortoise’s natural range, who do not practice these types of fady, are capturing and illegally selling tortoises.

“These tortoises are truly one of Madagascar’s most iconic species,” said James Deutsch, WCS Executive Director for Africa Programs. “This level of exploitation is unsustainable. Unless immediate action is taken to better protect the wild populations, their extinction is imminent.”

The Wildlife Conservation Society and its conservation partners are urging Malagasy officials to take a hard stand against illegal trafficking and increase the number of guards in remote areas to the north where the tortoises remain. This, coupled with public education efforts and better enforcement in import countries such as Thailand, will help take pressure off these critically endangered reptiles. Meanwhile, the Turtle Conservancy and Turtle Survival Alliance have been able to import a small number of animals seized from the illegal trade into the U.S. for the foundation of an assurance colony.

Eric Goode, Founder of the Turtle Conservancy, said: "While the seizure in Thailand was the largest single seizure of ploughshare tortoises in history, the TC has documented over 250 Ploughshares in the trade in East and Southeast Asia. According to INTERPOL, only 10 percent of smuggled wildlife is actually seized, suggesting that over 2000 animals have entered the illegal trade into Asia alone. If trade level persists, it will likely lead this species to extinction."

CONTACT: STEPHEN SAUTNER: (1-718-220-3682; [email protected])
JOHN DELANEY: (1-718-220-3275; [email protected])
 

sibi

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Let's just hope that something will be done before it's too late.
 

Team Gomberg

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Cowboy, thanks for copying the text into the thread instead of just linking to it.
I always appreciate that :)

Good point about CB torts at WC prices.

Heather
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EricIvins

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Cowboy_Ken said:
If we all insist on captive bred at wild caught prices, that would be a start. That's my breeding goal anyway.

What does that mean? Prices are dictated by market factors which are constantly in flux. Trying to fix a price on A because of B isn't going to work out well for anyone involved........

I guess no one really understands or realizes just how bleak Madagascar's future really is. The Island will be functionally dead in 15 years. At this point, there is no stopping it. Korea owns the mining and logging rights to most of the Island, including preserves or other protected areas, and they will strip the Island dry of any wild resources. Poaching for any animals is up astronomically because there is no prosecution. Madagascar hardly has a functioning Government to begin with, and most people are focused on keeping themselves alive instead of conservation......Fady beliefs are long gone, and this is what has protected most endemic wildlife on the Island, including the Tortoises. Ask anyone who has been there about the crime rate. Most endemic people in the south make their living by stealing from Tourists. It isn't much better in the north either....
 

Cowboy_Ken

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Gomberg, we're the consumers right? Market demands and all. I don't want to make a living from my tortoise, just maybe help on the electric bill. LOL. But I mean that.


Which Korea?
 

EricIvins

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Cowboy_Ken said:
Gomberg, we're the consumers right? Market demands and all. I don't want to make a living from my tortoise, just maybe help on the electric bill. LOL. But I mean that.

You'd be hard pressed to barely make a living or "help" with your electric bill even at market prices......
 

EricIvins

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Cowboy_Ken said:
EricIvins said:
Don't squish my dreams or tell Karen that! Come on, help a brother out here, GOSH.

Myswell squash those dream right now.....I do this for a living, so I have insight as to what's involved and how much work it is to actually make it profitable.....
 

Cowboy_Ken

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EricIvins said:
Cowboy_Ken said:
EricIvins said:
Don't squish my dreams or tell Karen that! Come on, help a brother out here, GOSH.

Myswell squash those dream right now.....I do this for a living, so I have insight as to what's involved and how much work it is to actually make it profitable.....

Any second now, I'm gonna block you. LOL.
 

bigred

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Cowboy_Ken said:
EricIvins said:
Cowboy_Ken said:
EricIvins said:
Don't squish my dreams or tell Karen that! Come on, help a brother out here, GOSH.

Myswell squash those dream right now.....I do this for a living, so I have insight as to what's involved and how much work it is to actually make it profitable.....

Any second now, I'm gonna block you. LOL.

:D GREAT IDEA
 

Cowboy_Ken

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bigred said:
Cowboy_Ken said:
EricIvins said:
Cowboy_Ken said:
EricIvins said:
Don't squish my dreams or tell Karen that! Come on, help a brother out here, GOSH.

Myswell squash those dream right now.....I do this for a living, so I have insight as to what's involved and how much work it is to actually make it profitable.....

Any second now, I'm gonna block you. LOL.

:D GREAT IDEA

IKR? Blocking my dreams AND narcing me out to my wife!!!!!


And trust me. If I had the means (money), I'd destroy the radiated market.

 

Kapidolo Farms

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I sorta 'hate' to bring this back on topic, the flow of tortoises out of Madagascar, but as a thought experiment try this on for size, especially with the ploughshare.

What seems more likely...
1) that some people have walked the forest where they exist in the wild and found that many of the same size, while overlooking other size classes, OR
2) that people have taken the husbandry skills and natural history information taught to them by conservationist and are applying it at home with a few adults taken from the wild at some other point in time.

The like process is industrial intellectual theft, if all the folks who build electronics worked in two factories in China, one the legitimate owner of the brand and another a grey market version the market could be flooded with grey market merchandise. Oh wait, that does happen.

It seems so obvious that it is pointless to point it out, all those like size confiscated sub-adult ploughshares are in-situ captive bred, it is a home grown grassroots industry. Right beside the chickens in a pen are ploughshares doing what they do, in-situ. Like if I had a colony of box turtles in New jersey, and just let them do what they do, keep predators out and harvest hatchlings every year. Now me and my neighbor do it, we have more. People anywhere are not dumb, for the most part. Those folks in that country are being trained by the best conservation minds in the world, and they don't leave that knowledge at the gate when they clock out to go home, their aunt, brother, or little sister have a small chicken coop somewhere and that is where all those same size sub-adult tortoises are coming from.

Then the trick is to get them out of the country. The conservation effort is fed by the money the conservation effort brings in terms of jobs and training, the training to have a second operation away from the conservation operation. If Chinese factory workers/owners can figure it out, so can country folks in Madagascar.

When the confiscation is made and the conservationist yell out, they get more funds for better training and -- opps is that a cycle.

Will
 

Kapidolo Farms

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Re: RE: Tortoise Trafficking Raging Out of Control in Madagascar

Cowboy_Ken said:
So Will, if I want my own ploughshare tortoises, I need to get chickens and worse yet, neighbors?


Crap!

Well Ken, maybe no one would want to live near you either!

The overall point is ... no way that 20 like sized ploughshares are poached out of a nature reserve. It takes several search hours to find adults. All those hatchlings are home farm raised in-situ, then smuggled out.

Will

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AustinASU

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Lets mount mini turrets on their shells that shoots at any humans coming in close proximity :)
 

Jabuticaba

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This makes me sick. :(


May[CHERRY BLOSSOM], Darwin[TURTLE] & Wallace[TURTLE]
Winnipeg, Canada
 
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