Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on May 6, 2008
Radiated Tortoise Tortellini? A pet tortoise named Fido? If ether of these thoughts appeals to you, we know who to come after. Illegal trade of Madagascar’s radiated tortoise – both for pets and for food – are to blame for the endangered status of this precious reptile.
Found along a narrow section of Madagascar’s southern coast, the radiated tortoise (Geochelone radiata) is among the largest and most beautiful of the world’s tortoises. Natural herbivores, their diet consists mostly of grass and pasturage, with fruits and succulent plants thrown in as a delicacy.
But a recent assessment reveals that as the animal’s natural habitat has shrunk, illegal hunting has grown — putting the radiated tortoise on the list of the Earth’s most endangered reptiles.
“Madagascar’s ancient tortoises and turtles are marching toward extinction unless an all-out effort is made to protect these living national treasures,” said Dr. James Deutsch, director of Africa’s Wildlife Conservation Society (via Live Science). “The good news is that there’s still time to save them, and we know how to tackle the issues.”
What needs to be done, says the WCS, are conservation attempts to preserve the tortoise’s habitat and a severe cracking down on the illegal trade of its goods.
Despite its slow and steady pace, without proper conservation the radiated tortoise will win the race toward extinction.
(via Live Science)