Thousands of rare tortoises rescued from dealers in Madagascar

REFILE - ADDING RESTRICTIONS Rescued endangered radiated tortoise are seen feeding in Ifaty, Madagascar April 27, 2018. Picture taken April 27, 2018. Susie Bartlett/The Wildlife Conservation Society/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

Nearly 11,000 endangered tortoises, found dehydrated and hungry in a house in Madagascar, are being coaxed back to health by a team of US veterinarians.

Susie Bartlett of Wildlife Conservation Society said the radiated tortoises are prized by dealers for their beautiful shells, she said some were so dry that they had to be soaked in water for weeks.

She added, others had to be injected with rehydration fluids and in some cases antibiotics and painkillers.

The Police found them in a house on the island last month, they arrested three people and called in the experts.

In the island on the southwestern coast Bartlett and colleagues spent days working in 100F heat at a care facility in one of the tortoises natural habitats.

She said, “We got poked and scratched by spiny branches when crawling through to access the animal.”

Unfortunately some died but thousands of others conditions are improving. It’s highly unlikely they will be released back into the wild anytime soon because they could be recaptured by poachers.

They are highly popular as a delicacies in some parts of Asia, and as pets in other areas, Bartlett added.

Photo Credit- Susie Bartlett/The Wildlife Conservation Society/Handout via Reuters

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