TROUBLES WITH TORTOISES
Madagascar is home to a beautiful array of reptiles - from neon-green geckos to swivel-eyed chameleons, cryptic boas to star-shelled tortoises. In fact, Malagasy reptiles are so beautiful that people all over the world want to keep them as pets! In a poor country like Madagascar, poaching animals for the illegal pet trade can have huge impacts on local animal populations.
In this section, you'll learn about the unique tortoises that live on Madagascar, and see how their population has been decimated by the international pet trade. You'll step into the shoes of an international wildlife trade inspector and track tortoises around the world. You'll then use genetic information to help you understand the relationship between tortoises so you can safely return tortoises that were illegally poached and exported out of the island. You'll even take a step further and use genetics to determine when and how tortoises arrived in Madagascar with a tool called a 'molecular clock'.