This turtle is in danger… because it is thought to bring good luck

Thailand, where this turtle is very popular, is one of the main destinations for this species. In June 2023, customs officials from Tamil Nadu seized 369 star tortoises from India en route to Bangkok.

“This turtle species is still considered to be one of the most confiscated turtles in the world,” said Neil D’Cruze. It is important to note that regardless of whether there are a thousand or a hundred animals in a single shipment, this trade is extremely cruel to every turtle involved. According to him, the turtles are often wrapped in cloth or taped and stuffed into suitcases and undergo stressful journeys marked by promiscuity and can last for several days. Sea turtles also experience trauma during capture and transit, including shell fractures and puncture wounds.

According to Chris Shepherd, confiscated specimens are rarely released into the wild, and many die in transit. Neil D’Cruze and Chris Shepherd say that to help this species, destination countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia must create new laws to better protect them and prevent exploitation of legal loopholes that undermine conservation efforts for this species.

According to Neil D’Cruze, the belief that these turtles bring good luck is widespread and means they are loved by the families who welcome them.

A woman he met in Ahmedabad, a city in western India, told him that she appreciated a turtle of hers that helped her son get a job, allowed her daughter to marry attractively, and even contributed to her son’s recovery. sick goat after his arrival home. “The story emphasizes the depth of belief in the power of creatures that can bring good luck and blessings to their owners,” he recalled.

Serena Hoyles

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