89 turtles of 8 species arrived at Amsterdam airport on September 16, after having been rescued from a confiscation of an illegal shipment in Hong Kong. TSA Europe spearheaded efforts to place the turtles within their conservation network that includes European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) Zoos and European Studbook Foundation (ESF) private collections throughout Europe. The shipment included 73 radiated tortoises, two spider tortoises, five Burmese star tortoises, one Indian star tortoise, five yellow-margined box turtles, one Japanese pond turtle, one Pancake tortoise and one yellow pond turtle.
All of the animals arrived in good health and some were transferred immediately to their final destinations at various locations within the ESF accompanied by a loan contract. The radiated tortoises were temporarily homed at the Rotterdam Zoo for quarantine, as CITES documents had to be issued before they could be moved to other facilities. Eventually, they were sent to following European zoos: the Plock, Wroclaw and Opole Zoos (Poland), Santa Inacio (Portugal), A Cupulatta (France), Antwerp Zoo (Belgium), Paignton Zoo (England) and Copenhagen Zoo and Terrariet Vissenbjerg (Denmark).
Assisting with this rescue operation allowed for a large number of turtles to be secured for captive breeding programs, boosting safety net populations for these rare species. Shipping costs for operations such as this place a severe burden on the budget of TSA Europe. To donate funds to offset some of these costs, please click here.