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Rodrigues, M., Gibbons, P., Rakotonanahary, T. F., Chansue, N., Poothong, S., & Foley, K.-E. , “54 and out”: The exploding ploughshare tortoise trade in asia - abstract. Unpublished paper presented at Program and Abstracts of the Tenth Annual Symposium on the Conservation and Biology of Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles. 
Added by: Sarina Wunderlich (06 Jul 2014 16:17:17 UTC)
Resource type: Conference Paper
BibTeX citation key: Rodrigues2013
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Categories: General
Keywords: Chelidae, Chelodina expansa, Emydura macquarii, Habitat - habitat, Madagaskar - Madagascar, Schildkröten - turtles + tortoises
Creators: Chansue, Foley, Gibbons, Poothong, Rakotonanahary, Rodrigues
Collection: Program and Abstracts of the Tenth Annual Symposium on the Conservation and Biology of Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles
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Abstract     
Testudinidae Geochelone On March 15, 2013 in Bangkok, the day after the sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, Thai authorities seized 54 Ploughshare Tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora) in the largest-ever seizure of this Critically Endangered species. Within weeks, 26 of them were reported dead. In response to this grave situation, the Turtle Conservancy (TC) and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust launched a mission including Dr. Paul Gibbons, Maurice Rodrigues, and Tsanta Fiderana Rakotonanahary to aid Dr. Nantarika Chansue and Songkrod Poothong in providing species-specific husbandry and veterinary care for the remaining rescued animals. Following a highly constructive meeting with Deputy Director General of the Thai Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation, Dr. Theerapat Prayurasiddh and our team moved forward with the Director and keeper staff at the government conservatory where the tortoises were being housed. The husbandry plan followed that of the Behler Chelonian Center and the Durrell facilities, and was adapted to incorporate readily available materials and supplies in Thailand. Our team crafted the first enclosure as an example, and then worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the Thai keeper staff to quickly make space for not only the remaining Ploughshare Tortoises, but also recently confiscated Indian Star Tortoises (Geochelone elegans) and Radiated Tortoises (Astrochelys radiata). The enclosures provide conditions that closely match the natural history and environment of the animals in the wild. The new upgraded enclosures and husbandry technology will be used not just for the current group of animals, but for future confiscations of tortoises in Bangkok. Trade is the biggest threat to many species of wildlife, including the Ploughshare Tortoise. In recent years the TC has documented over 250 Ploughshares in the trade in East and Southeast Asia, a staggering number considering that the total wild population is probably less than 500 animals. While turtle and tortoise trade has been prevalent in Asia for quite some time, rapidly growing demand for exotic and rare species like the Ploughshare may be linked to increasing affluence in the region. If current trade levels persist, they will likely trump our best in situ efforts to protect this iconic chelonian.
Added by: Sarina Wunderlich  
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