When you look at this house from the outside, you would have had no idea what type of secret that was inside of it. It all began when police received a tip that they needed to break into a home in Toliara, Madagascar earlier last week.
Turns out that whoever tipped them off was an angel because police found over 11,000 radiated tortoises inside. I can’t even imagine finding 11,000 turtle beanie babies in one spot, let alone actual living ones.
Rick Hudson who is the president and CEO of Turtle Survival Alliance told The Dodo:
“Every room was covered with tortoises. This is the largest confiscation that we’ve ever dealt with with any kind of turtle. It’s just of monumental proportions.”
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Sadly the Radiated Tortoise is unique and awesome looking with a beautiful intricate star pattern. Pet owners desire them, which has sent these guys to the endangered list. They steal the tortoises from Madagascar and then ship them to Asian nations that will buy them as pets.
That’s where Hudson thinks these tortoises were off too, before they were saved. Since they were saved though, around 300 have died since they were malnourished from improper care.
Hudson went onto say:
“We saw no evidence of food or water. Typically they don’t seem to think that tortoises have any biological needs. They just keep them until they’re ready to ship them.”
The group of tortoises went to a tortoise sanctuary but for some reason caring for 10,000+ turtles is being difficult. Hudson and the Turtle Survival Alliance have sent volunteers to help, but they are still struggling.
“Dehydration is our worst enemy in these situations. We have to go in with plastic tubs and things to put the tortoises in. We’re hoping that they just need a good soak and rehydration will perk them up.”
While they will eventually be released back into the wild, they will need to be checked up first to see if they can even return in the first place. Since they don’t know how long they were in captivity, they must make sure they won’t simply just die when they get released.
Hudson compared this tortoise’s decline to when we lost the American Bison. He also said:
“This used to be one of the most numerous tortoises in the world, estimated at 12 million, and now we’re just watching this rapid decline.”
As of now, local police have taken three men into custody that were connected to the tortoise heist. They think this cracked a major poaching ring which is a huge win if we can find goodness in this story.
“We need to get the word out, we need to ramp up international outrage, and put pressure on local authorities to keep doing their job.”
You heard him! So share this article in an email chain with whoever and lets make sure this never happens again!