Madagascar’s Tattooed Tortoises! Are They Safe Now?
“My mission is to create a world where we can live in harmony with nature..” ~ Jane Goodall
Thanks to the kind heart of animal activist Eric Goode, the Ploughshare Tortoises of Madagascar can breathe a little bit easier over their endangered species status. Goode is the founder of the Turtle Conservatory in Ojai Valley, California.
And he has created a safe-haven for the tortoises..
What exactly is so special about these tortoises, and why are they becoming extinct?
There are only an estimated few hundred left in the world, due to the fact that hunters have been killing them, their natural habitats have been fading out, and they are considered to be a sign of affluence in South Asian countries. People like to keep them as pets, because of their unique golden shell. But since they are wild creatures (and on the endangered species list), this is obviously not a great (nor legal) idea. Illegally gained Ploughshare Tortoises can command a price as high as tens of thousands of dollars each.
The compassionate people at the Turtle Conservatory and fellow conservationists decided to step up to the plate, and do something even more to help defend the tortoises: they instituted their own tracking system of each of the eleven that reside at the Conservatory and tortoises that still remain in other places around the world.
The system consists of carving four numbers into the shells and then two letters. The letters are representative of where the Ploughshare Tortoises come from, and the numbers stand for where the tortoise was found. The tracking system is simple, yet serves two purposes: to keep an eye on them, and to keep status-seeking people from wanting to own them as pets.
Veterinarian, Paul Gibbons has his eye on the Conservatory’s only pregnant female Ploughshare Tortoise. They hope to successfully have her eggs survive and hatch on the protected grounds. Eric Goode hopes for this as well. Seems fitting, seeing as their survival would definitely represent the crux of his life’s work.
May the force be with you, and good luck Ploughshare Tortoises of Madagscar!