What would you like to search for?

Our News

Over 1,000 radiated tortoises and 48 lemurs intercepted between Indonesia and Thailand.

​Madagascar's wildlife trafficking is taking a new turn, and now includes the country's iconic lemurs.

On Wednesday May 1, 2024, Thai police seized over 1,000 radiated tortoises and 48 lemurs, including Lemur catta. Informed of the existence of a suspected wildlife smuggling convoy from Indonesia, the Thai police, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, investigated, tracked and intercepted the four-vehicle convoy at a hotel in Muang district, Chumphon province, Thailand.
As a result of this investigation, six suspects were apprehended, according to information reported by Thailand's Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division. “This is the largest seizure of wildlife in a single arrest,” the division's commander told the Thai press. According to statements made to the press by local authorities, the two endemic species from Madagascar were to be transported to Bangkok, South Korea and Taiwan.

Wildlife trafficking is one of the main threats to Madagascar's biodiversity. The radiated tortoise (Astrochelys radiata) or “Sokake” is one of the most heavily trafficked land tortoises in the country and worldwide. Like other endemic species, the radiated tortoise is included in the IUCN Red List and in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). As for lemurs, all Madagascar's lemur species are listed as category I protected species under Decree 2006-400 of June 13, 2006, classifying species of wild fauna. As such, “they benefit from absolute protection throughout the territory of the Malagasy Republic and may not be hunted, captured or kept”.

According to the provisions of Law N° 2005 018 of October 17, 2005 on international trade in species of wild fauna and flora, “the possession, purchase, offer to purchase, acquisition for commercial purposes, use for profit, exhibition to the public for commercial purposes, sale, holding for sale, offering for sale and transport for sale of any specimen belonging to a ‘protected’ species are punishable by”a prison sentence of between six months and ten years and a fine of between Ar 10. 000,000 to Ar 200,000,000”. Also, “any taking of animals” from a protected area is a crime punishable by 2 to 10 years' imprisonment and a fine of between 100 million and 2 billion ariary, according to Law No. 2015 -005 of February 26, 2015, overhauling the Protected Areas Management Code.
Simon Rafanomezantsoa of WWF Madagascar declared: “A thorough investigation into the origin of this traffic is more than necessary to identify and punish those involved in collecting and shipping these animals on Malagasy soil. The quantity seized points strongly towards the existence of an organized network of traffickers, and the use of the sea route to move the animals out of the national territory. This major seizure in Thailand demonstrates the need to redouble our efforts in the fight against the trafficking of Madagascar's unique species”.

We call on the authorities to take all necessary measures to curb this scourge of our natural wealth, and to investigate and arrest those involved, whether in Madagascar or Asia.