Critically-endangered ploughshare tortoises released by Jersey charity
tortoises released by Jersey charity
Twenty critically-endangered tortoises have been released into the wild on Madagascar by a Jersey charity.
Jersey’s Durrell Conservation Trust said the release of the captive-bred tortoises meant it had now introduced 100 of the animals into the wild.
The ploughshare tortoise – or astrochelys ynophora – exists only at a single site on the African island.
They are sought after as exotic pets and because of their high domed shells.
Richard Lewis, Durrell’s Madagascar programme director, said: « For me personally this was the fruition of ten years’ hard work. When Durrell first proposed the idea of releasing ploughshares, many experts said that it couldn’t be done.
« We had to make the rule book ourselves, and to date this release is still one of the few successful tortoise reintroduction projects in the world. »
The charity believes there are approximately 400 ploughshare tortoises in Madagascar and said the scale of poaching still « threatens the future existence of the species ».
Durrell helps to protect the tortoises from smugglers by marking their shells.