A Labor of Love!

by Jordan Gray 

We've all heard the phrase "It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it." For our "Team Radiata 3" wave in Madagascar, this phrase is more of a calling—fueled by passion and love. Under the hot Malagasy sun, this amazing group of responders has been continuing the relief effort for the nearly 10,000 Radiated Tortoises seized from wildlife traffickers 7 weeks ago. For them, the long days of providing animal and veterinary care, as well as construction leadership and man-power is less of a job, and more a sense of duty. Stemming from various backgrounds, these wildlife warriors work with a singular mission: saving the lives of critically endangered tortoises.


Drs. Sean Perry (LSU) and Ny Aina Tiana Rakotoarisoa (TSA) and assistant Cassandra Reid (Dallas Zoo) provide treatment for a tortoise.

Every day, this group of volunteers, representing the Turtle Survival Alliance, Utah's Hogle Zoo, Dallas Zoo, Denver Zoo, Oklahoma City Zoo, ACCB Cambodia, Cincinnati Zoo, Louisiana State University, and the Association of Zoological Veterinary Technicians, begins work knowing that their daily routines and overall efforts are necessary to save the lives of these tortoises. Although many of the tortoises are faring relatively well, respectively speaking, many are still in need of expert medical care and rehabilitation. Others, effectively rely on the daily routine of these volunteers to receive that extra "push" to make it through this ordeal. And, despite all of our greatest efforts, tortoises continue die—victims of the grotesque acts known as poaching and wildlife trafficking. Without volunteers like those from "Team Radiata 3," a long-life and continued existence in Madagascar would simply not be possible for these iconic tortoises.

Dr. Sean Perry (LSU) and Cassandra Reid (Dallas Zoo) provide medical treatment for a young Radiated Tortoise.

Although "Team Radiata 3" will soon be returning to the United States and their other homes abroad, the relief effort for these tortoises is far from over. As our "Team Radiata 4" wave currently descends upon southwestern Madagascar, continuing this labor of love, the TSA and our partners must continue to schedule new waves of wildlife warriors to replace them. We are in this for the long-haul. To find out how you, your representative institution, or private practice can volunteer professional services in the coming weeks, please contact Andrew Walde directly at awalde@turtlesurvival.org.

Paul Reinhart (Cincinnati Zoo) and Christel Griffioen (ACCB Cambodia) transfer tortoises to their new enclosure.

You can also support these passionate medical, animal care, and construction specialists, provide supplies, and help SAVE tortoises by DONATING TODAY! Your donation will DIRECTLY SAVE THE LIVES of Radiated Tortoises—guiding them back to a long life in Madagascar!

Radiated Tortoise

Radiated Tortoises in the "Hospital Pens" await treatment by our veterinary team.