2. Defacing the shells helps to deter poachers by making the tortoise shells, which go for tens of thousands of dollars on the black market, less attractive. It also helps conservationists keep track of them.
3. Since the practice of defacing shells began in 2011, these turtles’ shells haven’t turned up on the black market. It’s estimated that there are only about 100 to 300 ploughshare turtles left, according to Eric Goode of the Turtle Conservancy.
4. Engraving the shell isn’t comfortable for the tortoise and can sometimes be painful, so conservationists are careful not to drill into the bone of the shell.
Paul Gibbons (left), with assistance from Armando Jimenez, uses a drill tool to deface the golden domes of two ploughshare tortoises in Los Angeles.
5. But it’s small price to pay to save these adorable faces!
Darcy Gamble of the Turtle Conservancy’s Behler Chelonian Center in Los Angeles touches Daphnia, a rescued tortoise, while talking about ways to reduce their value on the black market.
6. Learn more about the tortoises at the Turtle Conservancy’s Behler Chelonian Center.
- The Army Corps of Engineers and North Dakota police have ordered protesters to leave the Dakota Access Pipeline site today or face arrest.
- Seven Earth-sized planets that could have water and possibly sustain life have been discovered orbiting a dwarf star, NASA announced today.
- The ACLU is suing the city of Milwaukee and its police for allegedly performing thousands of illegal stop-and-frisk searches that targeted minorities.
- #Peggygate: West Elm offers full refunds for the notoriously disintegrating Peggy Couch days after pulling it from its website and stores👏