3-Legged Ploughshare Tortoise Rescued From Smugglers Makes Home At UK’s Chester ZooThe ploughshare tortoise is critically endangered with an estimated 300 breeding adults left in the wild. Screenshot via Chester Zoo/Facebook

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3-Legged Ploughshare Tortoise Rescued From Smugglers Makes Home At UK’s Chester Zoo

The ploughshare tortoise is the most threatened tortoise species in the world and is native to Madagascar.

Hope was discovered in a suitcase in Hong Kong with 56 other endangered tortoises in 2019.

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A three-legged ploughshare tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora) who discovered in a suitcase in Hong Kong with 56 other endangered tortoises in 2019, has found a home at the Chester Zoo, where he is living with three other ploguhshare tortoises.


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The tortoise, named Hope, was outfitted with a prosthetic rolling device in Hong Kong to help him balance as he is missing one of his front limbs, The Chester Zoo made modifications to the rollers and now he moves faster than his friends, according to the zoo.

The zoo says Hope will join the zoo’s breeding program in an effort to ensure a “a genetically viable safety net population and prevent its extinction,” Director of animals and plants Mike Jordan, the zoo’s director of animals and plants said.

The smuggler was jailed for two years.


20 Critically Endangered Ploughshare Tortoises Released On Madagascar

Thai Smugglers Captured With An Estimated 14 Percent Of Ploughshare Tortoises Population

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The ploughshare tortoise is considered one of the most critically endangered tortoises in the world, with less than 300 tortoises living in the wild. The species was listed as critically endangered in 2018.

Ploughshare Tortoise Shutterstock 132940439

It is estimated that there are less than 300 adult ploughshare tortoises left in the wild. Photo by Ryan M. Bolton/Shutterstock

In 2013, authorities at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Thailand arrested a man and a woman who attempted to smuggle 54 critically endangered ploughshare tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora) and 21 critically endangered radiated tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) into Thailand. At the time, the smuggled ploughshare tortoises represented 14 percent of the total wild population.

Ploughshare Tortoise Information

The ploughshare tortoise is the most threatened tortoise species in the world and is native to Madagascar. It is estimated that less than 300 breeding adults are left in the wild. The species reaches maturity at 20 years of age and can live to more than 100 years. Ploughshare tortoises are in decline due to the illegal pet trade and hunting for human consumption. They also are in decline due to habitat loss, the introduction of bush pigs, fires, and mining and forestry.

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The ploughshare tortoise grows to about 17-20 inches in carapace length and can weigh around more than 20 pounds. They are also known as the angonoka tortoise, Madagascar tortoise, or Madagascar angulated tortoise. To discourage poaching, the Durrell Conservation Trust has been marking the shells with identifying marks, which makes them less desirable to poachers and those who illegally collect them.