Changing of the Guard!

by Jordan Gray 

This past weekend in Ifaty, Madagascar, we again said goodbye to an incredible group of wildlife warriors and hello to a new! During each transition period between response teams, it is important that we ensure the nearly 10,000 Radiated Tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) continue to receive world-class veterinary and animal care. To ensure a smooth transition and that this level of care is met, our TSA administrative staff, TSA-Madagscar staff, and our many partners throughout the zoological world work diligently to appropriately schedule and stagger the departure and arrival of the many veterinarians, veterinary technicians, animal care specialists, communications specialists, and supporting personnel who make up our relief effort teams. Each team works non-stop for approximately two weeks before returning to their respective institutions of employment back home.

We are always sad to say goodbye to each member of our "Team Radiata" teams who poured their hearts and souls into caring for the thousands of tortoises during their time in Madagascar, yet excited to meet those who will next carry the torch! Thank you very much, or "Misaotra betsaka" Team Radiata 2 and hello, or "Salama" Team Radiata 3!

"Team Radiata 2" pictured left to right: Back row: Dr. Matt Marinkovich (San Diego Zoo), Jordan Gray (TSA), Brett Baldwin (San Diego Zoo), Dr. Pete Koplos (Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group), Jay Allen (private), Doris Dimmitt (private), Nathan Haislip (TSA), Dr. Adriana Nielsen (Wadi al Safa Wildlife Center) Front row: Dr. Ny Aina Tiana Rak (TSA), Rachel Walton (San Diego Zoo), Kelvin Alvarez (Wildlife Conservation Society), Jessica Chin (WCS) Not pictured: Dr. Matt O'Connor (Shedd Aquarium), Dr. Bonnie Raphael (private), Christel Griffioen (Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity), Beau Bradley (private), Herilala Randriamahazo (TSA)

"Team Radiata 2/3 Transition" left to right: Back row: Melanie Evans (Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden), Dr. Pete Koplos, Rachel Walton, Brett Baldwin, Dr. Sean Perry (LSU), Liz McCrae (Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden), Ric Pusey (private), Doris Dimmitt, Paul Reinhart (Cincinnati Zoo), Cassandra Reid (Dallas Zoo), Pattie Walsh (Association of Zoological Veterinary Technicians) Front row: Jessica Chin (WCS), Kelvin Alvarez (WCS), Dr. Ny Aina Tiana Rak (TSA) Not pictured: Dr. Bonnie Raphael, Christel Griffioen, Beau Bradley, Herilala Randriamahazo (TSA)

"Team Radiata 3" left to right: Max Maloney (Denver Zoo), Cassandra Reid, Kelly Bradley (Fort Worth Zoo), Paul Reinhart, Doris Dimmitt, Melanie Evans, Dr. Sean Perry, Liz McCrae, Christel Griffioen (ACCB), Pattie Walsh, Sean Ploysa (Denver Zoo) Not pictured: Ric Pusey, Beau Bradley