The beautiful island located in the Indian Ocean is well known for its unique Biodiversity. Sadly, this unique biodiversity is facing a heart-breaking high rate of species trafficking. One such species facing serious threat is the Radiata Tortoise.
Radiata Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata) locally known as Angonoka is the most common species in the specialized pet market of Bangkok, Thailand known as “Chatuchak”. Its trafficking story started in 1996 at Roissy Airport in France when Radiata Tortoises were found in a traveler’s luggage. The trafficking has been rampant and has continued since the late 90’s.
In 2015, fourteen tortoises were intercepted by the Hongkong police and later transferred to Perth for safety. In 2016, the trafficking is still an on-going issue in Madagascar. With the intervention of the State the Civil Society “Alliance Voahary Gasy”, their members raised their voice and acted on ground to drive the environmental justice concept. Their effort has been fruitful as many lawsuits have been placed on the “Species dealers”. According to midi-madagaskara, three people have been arrested for trafficking 227 tortoises and a sentence of 18 months has been served to the chief trafficker, Mrs. Hanrita.
While I applaud this work, according to WWF, around 5000 Turtles are illegally exported from Madagascar monthly. This only shows us how much more we need to do.
Thus, more action should be enforced as this is just one species of the several that get trafficked from Madagascar.
By GYBN Member,