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Posted by Richard Fife on April 02, 2000 at 21:08:06:
USA and France have agreed to list the African spurred tortoise appendix I. This will stop all commercial breeding worldwide of the African spurred tortoise
On April 10-20, 2000 the “Conference of the Parties” (COP11) will meet at Nairobi, Kenya to discuss and review the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). There are currently 146 nations that belong to CITES.
On March 8, 2000 the United States joined with France and agreed to support the listing of the African spurred tortoise appendix I. If this is done the African spurred tortoise can no longer be bred or sold commercially.
Officially it is estimated that only 18,000 to 20,000 African spurred tortoises are left in the wild. If these figures are accurate the spurred tortoise is definitely in need of protection in the wild. In captivity the story is very different. The African spurred tortoise is the most commonly bred tortoise in the world. It is estimated that more than 10,000 are produced in the USA each year and that captive populations my greatly exceed 50,000. Multiple generations have been bred and new color morphs are being developed currently.
Please contact your Government Officials immediately and make the following recommendation:
I recommend that African spurred tortoises which are bred outside of their native range be exempt from the appendix I listing. I also recommend that color variations not occurring normally in the wild be exempt from the appendix I listing.
Listing captive populations of the most commonly bred tortoise in the world, the African spurred tortoises or color variations of the African spurred tortoise (not normally occurring in the wild) as appendix I would jeopardize the validity of CITES and completely nullify the Endangered Species Act. Commercial breeders have more than doubled the world’s population of this species (there are more captive produced spurred tortoises than all spurred tortoises remaining in the wild). If captive populations are not excluded the Endangered Species act and CITES become completely invalid and we should question the real purpose and focus of this document.
Time is of the essence! We may already be too late to affect the CITES meeting. Please pass this on to everyone you know.