So in this article that I happen to have seen in my RSS feed earlier this week, THIRTEEN percent of an entire species was being smuggled from Madagascar. Labeled as critically endangered, 54 Ploughshare Tortoises and 21 Radiated Tortoises were found at an airport (I assume it was the Bangkok airport).
The organization behind this had already “… effectively stolen over 10% of the estimated population in the wild.” Which is despicable!
The positive note about about this was that it was caught before the turtles were taken out of the airport. And the 2 main players in this smuggling was caught and sent to jail.
What is also cool is that Madagascar and Thailand are working together to help stop this animal trafficking, since it is a big problem between the two countries.
Another thing I found interesting was the comments of people who also read the article, and the points they brought up was sad and true. Because this population of tortoises are lowering, the more sought out and valuable they become to smugglers. It’s a difficult cycle of situations for animals of this status. Another commenter pointed out how the turtles are horribly wrapped up in plastic. Not only is this a smuggling problem, but its animal abuse! These turtles are uncomfortably cramped, possibly traumatized from the travelling, and they are wrapped up like sandwiches!
I am really glad that the Royal Thai Customs officers & CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) officers are working together to curb this. I read from someone else’s post that there are alot of corrupted Thai officers who are actually aiding the smugglers, which is probably a huge difficulty for conservationists, but knowing that there are other officials that are dedicated to stopping this is a hopeful gesture for the biodiversity world.
– Esther Love