Tuesday, July 31, 2018

I am back in El Paso

Read see our first blog about this Madagascar radiated tortoise rescue effort here.  The El Paso Zoo is working to save endangered species here in El Paso and around the world.  

Hello everyone.   This is El Paso Zoo Keeper Luis Villanueva.  I am back in El Paso after completing my 16-day trip to Madagascar!   ​My experience was incredibly rewarding and it has been an honor helping the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) team with such an important project.  One thing I have learned is the importance of protecting such majestic animals. Poachers continue to take radiated tortoises from their natural habitat and there are constant confiscations.  To learn more about this project check out the Turtle Survival Alliance Radiated Tortoise Project page.

Here are some more pictures.   If you have any questions please contact me by email at villanuevalm@elpasotexas.gov.

Here I am working with Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) team members labeling and measuring rescued radiated tortoises near the Madagascar Rescue Center near Itampolo.  Each tortoise was sorted by size and weight and given a number.

Water is not readily available in the Itampolo area so every day we had to collect water from wells in different villages to support our efforts. 

I worked with Kate Leach a Veterinarian from the Atlanta Zoo when helping to access the health of each rescued tortoise.

Illegally collected radiated tortoises are often confiscated by government officials.  These tortoises were temporarily held at a TSA facility in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar.  

Here I am with fellow turtle rescue team members near Itampolo. 

 Special thanks to all the guests at the El Paso Zoo who rounded up their purchases at the Zoo gift shop and restaurants.  If it wasn’t for your donations I would not have been able to go on this important conservation trip.

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