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Radiated Tortoise Project

Slow but steady Won the Race...

The Radiated tortoise (Astrochelys radiata) once abundant in the dry, spiny forests of southern Madagascar is rapidly nearing extinction with less than 200,000 individuals remaining.  This tortoise, known locally as kotroky, is threatened by illicit pet trade, habitat loss, harvesting for international food markets and domestic consumption.  At the current rate, wildlife authorities predict the kotroky may become extinct in the wild within the next 5 years.

 	Piles of tortoise shells are all that remains after illegal poaching of these endangered creatures found only in the dry,spiny forests of souther...

Something can and IS being done....Education is the key to saving these populations from extinction. Conservation Fusion is Creating Conservation Champions for Madagascar's critically endangered Radiated Tortoise through local and global Education Programs.

In July 2011, CF programs engaged more than 700 students in education programs about the unique biodiversity of the island and educated them about how conservation can help provide a bright future for people, plants and animals. The above students received "tortoise" costumes sponsored by Zoos and Aquariums Committed to Conservation (ZACC).  THANKS!  You can see by their faces this was a huge success!

Hundreds of local children showed up to learn more...SO, we taught a special song about tortoise conservation and added a giant circle before educating youth about how everything is interconnected.

 	Radiated Tortoise puppet is a mascot for conservation messages.

 

 Radiated Tortoise puppet, inspired by Beth Armstrong, was present at all Educational programs. He was originally a Galapagos Tortoise but was transformed with some paints to have the radiated pattern on his shell. Additionally, he can speak and sing in Malagasy!

Tortoise puppet painting. 250 finger Puppets, along with 10 hand puppets were provided through a grant from Turtle Conservation Fund and the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership. CF provided paint brushes and inspiration for the project. Four sessions were held at Itampolo EPP in morning and afternoon sessions for two consecutive days.

tort_tambourine.jpgStudent Volunteers in Omaha painted plates yellow at the University of Nebraska for a Service Project prior to their journey to Madagascar. More than 60 Tambourine tortoises were colored and assembled by Malagasy youth to celebrate tortoise conservation with song at Kotoroky-O-Rama.