Conservation of African Testudines
Species name: AFRICAN SPURRED TORTOISE, ADANSON’S MUD TURTLE, SEA TURTLES, RADIATED TORTOISE
Scientific name: Centrochelys sulcata, Pelusios adansonii, Cheloniidae, Astrochelys radiata
Country: Senegal, Madagascar
Project website: www.africanchelonian.org, www.turtlesurvival.org
Turtles have lived on earth for more than 250 million years! Unfortunately, man has proved to be their most dangerous predator. For thousands of years, turtles have been valuable food for humans. Probably as early as 11,000 years ago, indigenous people exterminated giant tortoises in Florida… Sea, land and mud tortoises were also a delicacy in Europe until recently. Today, the problem mainly affects South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. It does not mean that turtles are safe on other continents. The illegal turtle trade market is so large that poachers hunt these animals on a massive scale.
Rescue of seized turtles in Senegal
The poaching and illegal trade in turtles are increasingly affecting the African continent. Smugglers buy the animals and try to export them by ship to Asia. The large port of Dakar is, therefore, a frequent location for smuggling. Thanks to the police and customs officials, some of them are intercepted and rescued! We support the African Chelonian Institute in rescuing, breeding and releasing turtles protected in Senegal into the wild.
In January 2019, thanks to the support of our foundation, for the third time, Adanson’s mud turtle (Pelusios adansonii) were released into Lake Guiers! We protect the biodiversity of the last wetlands of the desert Sahel! We also support the conservation breeding of desert tortoises in Senegal and educational actions carried out on the Atlantic coast to protect sea tortoises!
Saving the radiated tortoise in Madagascar
Until 20 years ago, radiated tortoises were quite common in Madagascar and could be seen close to towns and roads, making them a symbol of wildlife in the southern part of the island. The reason for the very rapid decline of the population is habitat loss, poaching and illegal trade. The tortoises mainly end up in Asia as pets but also as a delicacy. Currently, it is estimated that the population has decreased by 80%, and in 20 years, the turtles will disappear from the wild.
In 2018 in Madagascar, police foiled the major smuggling of 11,000, and then more than 7,000 radiated tortoises. They ended up in a tortoise rehabilitation centre, that was not designed for such a large number of animals. We rushed to help! We provided financial support for the construction of new enclosures and helped cover the costs of feeding the tortoises.
Unfortunately, despite onerous penalties and intensified measures taken by the local police, the temptation to make a substantial profit from illegal trade is enormous… Every year, several hundred to several thousand of these turtles are confiscated. Remember: DO NOT BUY WILD, PROTECTED TURTLES!