It was a good week for saving endangered species with the help of Malaysian officials who seized hundreds of endangered radiated tortoises, tomato frogs and chameleons days after a major wildlife bust of thousands of rare birds.
Customs officials at the Kuala Lumpur international airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 17, 2010, found endangered wildlife in the hand luggage of two Madagascan. Found were 369 radiated tortoises, five Madagascar tortoises, 47 tomato frogs and several chameleons.
“The tortoises were bound with masking tape to prevent them from moving, while the chameleons were stuffed into socks to prevent detection,” he told the Star, adding that the animals were worth 250,000 ringgit (78,000 dollars).
The Radiated tortoise (Astrochelys radiata) is a species in the genus of the Astrochelys tortoises. This species is native to Southern Madagascar and , and has been introduced to the islands of Réunion and Mauritius. As the Radiated Tortoises are herbivores, grazing constitutes 80-90% of their diet, while they also eat fruits and succulent plants. These tortoises are, however, endangered, mainly because of the destruction of their habitat by humans and because of poaching
The Madagascan flat-tailed tortoise is known locally as Kapidolo (ghost turtle) and is currently one of the most threatened and ancient of all the world’s tortoises. Kapidolo is a forest floor-dwelling species found only in a small area of western Madagascar.
The endangered Tomato frog is any one of the three species of genus Dyscophus and originally came from Madagascar. The common name comes from the frog’s bright yellow orange to deep red color. When threatened, a tomato frog puffs up its body. If a predator grabs a tomato frog in its mouth, the frog’s skin secretes a thick gummy toxin that can irrritate the predator’s eyes and mouth, causing it to release the frog. They tend to eat small insects and invertebrates, but have been known to eat mice!
Two days earlier, Malaysian police stumbled across a massive haul of endangered wildlife, including a pair of valuable birds of paradise, as they raided a warehouse of stolen cars. More than 20 protected species were found in the “mini zoo” in the capital’s suburbs.
The researchers said that with proper law enforcement and protection, the restoration of turtles and tortoises could boost ecotourism, providing income for local people.
“Thank you Malaysian authorities for for dedication to saying the most endangered species on the planet so future generations can enjoy their unique beauty.” -Mother Nature
Excerpts courtesy of http://bit.ly/ddlxRl
Excerpts and Image radiated tortoise courtesy of http://bit.ly/czs4Zb
Excerpts and Image tomato frog courtesy of http://bit.ly/cK6FLH