At the end of the month of April, wildlife authorities in Peru intercepted a bus which was headed to Lima. The officers confiscated an old cardboard box, which hid a heartbreaking secret, reports The Dodo.
Inside the box was 29 baby Galapagos turtles, of which, only 15,000 are left in the wild. The tortoises were decimated by humans after the discovery of the Galapagos Islands in 1535. The reptiles were hunted for their meat by whalers and pirates between the 16th and 19th centuries. Animals introduced by European colonists, like goats, also had devastating effects on the local vegetation and brought on the destruction of the tortoises’ natural habitat. Three sub-species of Galapagos turtles are sadly already extinct.
Today, the species is particularly threatened, as they are regularly poached. The animals are destined for the black market as pets, principally in Europe.
Of the 29 babies discovered by the Peruvian authorities, two were unfortunately already dead. The reptiles were wrapped in cellophane to stop them from moving and making noise, and left without care. DJ Schubert, biologist for the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), explained to The Dodo:
They wouldn’t have been fed or watered. They can sustain some period of time without food or water, but they’re not indestructible. I’m also sure there was fear.
The tortoises were handed over to a Peruvian zoo and will soon be returned to the Galapagos. While these babies have been saved, so many others haven’t had this luck and will end up on the black market. Schubert concluded:
We all have to do more individually and collectively to stamp out this obnoxious, illegal trade in wildlife.
You can help the AWI by clicking here to make a donation.
Endangered tortoise rescueAt least 29 Galapagos tortoises were rescued from the black market this week in Peru.
The reptiles were found wrapped in tape and stuffed in a box on board a bus.
Publié par WTHR-TV sur jeudi 20 avril 2017
H/t: The Dodo
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