Saturday, 19 January 2019

Two hundred rare tortoises found roaming around Prague

1 December 2017

Prague, Nov 30 (CTK) - A total of 264 rare Hermann's tortoises were found strolling along a road in the Sterboholy neighbourhood on the easternmost outskirts of Prague recently, the Czech Environmental Inspection (CIZP) told media on Thursday, adding that no one knows the tortoises' origin.

The Hermann tortoise lives in southern Europe and does not occur in the Czech wild.

Someone might have imported hundreds of them illegally, could not sell them without an import certificate and might have therefore thrown them out, according to CIZP head Erik Geuss.

The CIZP inspectors arrived at the scene, alerted by local inhabitants. They picked the tortoises, aged from three to 10 years, and transported them to animal rescue centres in the zoos in Prague and Plzen, west Bohemia.

"It is a species protected by the CITES convention and threatened with extinction," Geuss said.

The good condition of the tortoises indicates that they may come from a tortoise farm in some of their countries' of origin, he said.

In the Czech Republic, breeders sell the Hermann's tortoise between themselves for 1,500 crowns apiece, but the retail price is higher, Geuss said.

It is up to the Environment Ministry to decide on the tortoises' final new home.

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