Record rescue mission with more than 10,000 tortoises saved from traffickers | WWF
Record rescue mission with more than 10,000 tortoises saved from traffickers

Posted on 12 April 2018

9,760 radiated tortoises were seized at Betsinjaka, district of Toliara II, in the south-west of Madagascar.
Recently, Madagascar witnessed the most important seizure of radiated tortoises of the year. A total of 10,196 were taken at Betsinjaka, in the district of Toliara II, in the south-west of Madagascar. Unfortunately, only 9,760 tortoises were still alive. They were rapidly disinfected and put in quarantine in the Mangily tortoise rehabilitation camp before being reintroduced into their natural habitat.
 
These tortoises were seized from three traffickers, after a raid by the national guard and police, supported by the stand-in for the prosecutor of the court in Toliara. The search was made possible by the efforts of the regional network of informers, which fights against tortoise trafficking in the south-west of Madagascar.
 
The task-force is composed of civil society, local environmental management of forests and ecology, the Independent Anti-Corruption Bureau (BIANCO), the courts of Toliara, the Antimo Andrefana region, the police, the national guard, the local department of communication, the regional department of mines, Madagascar National Parks, and WWF.
 
“This record rescue is the result of strong efforts since last year. In effect, civil society and local communities formed a network to document tortoise trafficking. We hope that a seizure of this scope will be followed by the traffickers being brought to justice and their imprisonment by the courts,” the director of WWF Madagascar, Nanie Ratsifandrihamanana, declared. An independent whistle-blower alerted BIANCO, the department of forests, the police and the local government forces of the trafficker’s scheme. The tortoises were seized and the public was informed. The task-force will continue to support the efforts for justice.
 
By way of conclusion, Pierre N. Razafikely, the stand-in for the prosecutor in Toliara’s court, and a member of the task-force, said, “The tortoises were going to be smuggled from Madagascar through maritime routes. The traffickers’ plan has been aborted. This is a victory for tortoises and the tireless work of the task-force against the illegal tortoise trade.”
 
Radiated tortoise having had a feast on cactus fruit
© WWF / Dominic Tilley
Radiated tortoises seized at Betsinjaka - Toliara II, Madagascar
© FAMARI
Radiated tortoises seized at Betsinjaka - Toliara II, Madagascar
© FAMARI
Radiated tortoises seized at Betsinjaka - Toliara II, Madagascar
© FAMARI
Radiated tortoises seized at Betsinjaka - Toliara II, Madagascar
© FAMARI