Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tortoise - A Pair of Russian Refugees

Russian Tortoise

Russian tortoises are found in arid, open landscapes with sparse vegetation. They have adapted well to life in Uzbekistan's high, mountain desert but in order to survive in such a harsh place, they're only active from March until June. They hibernate during the winter and aestivate through the hottest part of the summer.

Recently their world has been turned upside down. Russian Tortoises are being captured, heaped into crates without food or water, and shipped to the United States. Brand name stores confine them into small glass tanks and then sell them to pet-loving Americans. We are currently providing a sanctuary for two such refugees that were bestowed upon us as a gift.

We've created a large indoor enclosure but they prefer to be in the outdoor pen foraging for their favorite food, dandelions. Despite the unfortunate circumstances, the tortoises appear to be healthy and happy. Our dry, mountain habitat probably reminds them of home. They're avid diggers and like to spend hot summer days burrowed into the cool earth. I hate to see wild animals like these lose their freedom. I'm sure this isn't the life they would choose but we're doing the best we can.

13 comments:

  1. Little natural tanks living in big glass tanks. Another of evolution's big hits, it's amazing how far these critters have dispersed and how many climates they've made it in.

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    1. They are like tanks, they don't stop. Once they start digging, they just keep going and going. A very old species that goes back to the dinosaurs. They appear to be very adaptable which makes they easy to care for.

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  2. such beautiful creatures - so sad how humans uproot all kinds of animals and sea life to put them in cages or pools for our selfish entertainment. It's one thing to conserve endangered species, but animals deserve their freedom to prosper in their own environments too.

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    1. I don't think it's illegal but it doesn't sound good how they're captured and shipped to the U.S. They are beautiful creatures, very adaptable and easy to take care of but they need plenty of space.

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  3. Ah, those pet-loving Americans, what will they do next? In Hawaii, the beautiful reef fish are collected for saltwater aquarium enthusiasts around the world... which also reduces the reef fish in the wild.

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    1. Oh yeah, we love our exotic pets here. The two tortoises we have I don't think would survive if we just let them go. We've thought about taking them to a reptile sanctuary but for now we're doing are best.

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  4. Poor tortises. I'm glad you're able to give them a happy home.

    Rinelle Grey

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    1. It doesn't sound good how they're being collected and shipped to the U.S. They need a lot of room. They're not the most cuddly creatures but they're interesting and have some personality. We're doing our best.

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  5. That's so sad about people taking them out of their natural habitat and using them for gratuitous purposes. This sort of act is damaging to their own souls. Good on you Dan for providing protection to two. Occasionally we may see one crossing the road up country here in South Africa. I think they can live to a grand old age and grow really huge.

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    1. The ones we have can live up to 50 years. I don't think they'll get very big though. They're fairly easy to care for because they are so hardy, it's just too bad they've been taken from their natural habitat.

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  6. Hi Dan, it's been a while since I visited your blog... this challenge has been a mammoth effort... I am so in awe of your responsibility to care for these sacred animals... I am sure they appreciate how lucky they are to have you, Illegal animal and for that matter human trafficking are quite possibly the ugliest form of selfishness and greed and on this planet.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, I know what you're saying. It's tough to keep up with the researching and writing much less the replying and commenting. I'm not sure if it's illegal but I don't think the tortoises are being shipped over here under the best conditions. They seem to be doing okay now.

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