If you recall, this post left you with a cliffhanger, and I’m not one to leave you hanging forever.
Knock knock! Who’s there?Introducing Astrochelys radiata- the second one ever hatched by our zoo
One of the most endangered tortoises in the world
Here’s a picture of one of the parents.
This is mom. She’s taller than a basketball, and much, much heavier.
The new baby is a bit smaller than its folks.
Yeah, that small.
And now the update you’ve all been waiting for! Can I get a drumroll, please? If you read this post, you know my supervisor at the zoo has been working to raise $2000 to buy desks and chairs for a school in Madagascar. Thanks to readers who forwarded the post all over the internet, we met our goal. In five days. Our total stands at $2443, and all of the money goes to the school. Give yourselves a hand! Thanks to everyone who donated or shared links. Your help will have a direct impact on the lives of 100 children in Madagascar. The baby tortoise featured in this blog is the same tortoise species that the children’s parents are helping to save, which bookends this story beautifully.
And I leave you with one more tortoise belly button.
Notice how this one is an oval instead.
Each Wednesday, I spend my day happily up to my elbows in tortoise turds as I volunteer in the reptile department of my zoo. It’s one of the best things I do all week. Look at the photo below (keeping in mind that it’s about three times larger than life). What’s not to love? Even when it pees on me.
One of my charges. This guy (gal?) is about the size of a golf-ball . Photo courtesy of Phil Colclough
You may already be familiar with my supervisor, Michael, who was featured in the revised edition of a wonderful children’s book. In addition to signing autographs and generally being awesome, he works closely with the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), which has undertaken a unique project. Tortoises in Madagascar are rapidly disappearing due to illegal collection for meat and for the pet trade. TSA has worked out a partnership with Antsakoamasy, a village in Madagascar. The villagers will protect the ever-dwindling population of radiated tortoises, and TSA will build a school for their children. The ultimate win:win.
The school is nearing completing and is set to open in March. What they need now are tables, benches, and school supplies for their students. Here is the exciting part. Furniture for the entire school will cost only about $1800 US dollars, and a only a few hundred more would purchase the necessary school supplies. This is where you come in. Michael is headed to Madagascar with TSA in a few weeks to teach villages how to properly care for confiscated tortoises until the animals can be returned to the wild. I would love be able to help raise the funds before he goes.
My friends, this is an achievable goal. Every dollar will add up quickly. I think we can knock it out of the ballpark and help these kids whose families are working to help protect this precious and endangered animal.
.Important update to this project on February 29.
Adult radiated tortoise cooling off in the mid-day sun. Photo courtesy of Michael Ogle
Malagasy kids saying hey, photo courtesy of Michael Ogle