Conservation groups having taken to tattooing endangered tortoises to keep them from being desirable on the black market.
Engraved Shells
The beautiful ploughshare tortoise is the most endangered in the world. It lives in Madagascar and has been poached by many, mostly Asians, illegally -some have paid up to $50,000 for the shell. The Madagascan government has begun engraving the shells so fewer collectors will seek them out.
Tattoo Time
The older turtles can handle the engraving without pain. The younger ones, however, are too sensitive. Unfortunately, the younger tortoises are also more in demand and need protection. So, conservationists have been “tattooing” on the younger shells. This has proven successful on the once-endangered Burmese tortoise. Any humane effort to keep a species from extinction is a positive thing.