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Author: Kara Moses.
Photographer: Daniel Austin.
Language: English
No. of Pages: 2
Dimensions: 210mm x 297mm x 1mm

Item Identification Code (UID#): 1333
Shelving Location: Papers & Articles: Natural History: Herpetology
Estimated Value: £1.00
Purchase Date: 1 October 2009
Purchased From: Log In to view this
Price Paid: Log In to view this

World's Rarest Tortoises Stolen

Article from

Mongabay (2009).
Stapled Printout

An article by Kara Moses about the theft of four ploughshare tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora) from the Durrell captive breeding program. Published 8 June 2009.

Opening Paragraphs

Four of the world’s rarest tortoises have been stolen from a captive breeding program in Madagascar. The critically endangered animals were part of a group of 44 due for release by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and were being held in pre-release enclosures at a secret location.

The Trust fears the stolen ploughshare tortoises are destined for Europe, USA or Asia where collectors will pay thousands of dollars for individuals due to the rarity of the species. It is estimated that only 500 adults remain in the wild and they are only found in Baly Bay national park, where the tortoises were taken from.

After extensive investigations in the area arrests have been made but the tortoises are yet to be recovered.

"As with many other species around the world, greed is proving to be the major threat facing the ploughshare tortoise. The selfish desires of foreign collectors could in the end send this species to extinction” says Andrew Terry, Durrell's Conservation Manager.

Traffickers pay poor local people to find the animals but the real problem lies with private collectors and buyers who continue to make the illegal trade of such rare species a lucrative business. Malagasy and foreign authorities have made attempts to put a stop to the smuggling, but recent political unrest and consequent lack of law enforcement has provided opportunities for traffickers.

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