Tuesday, April 22, 2008

OR Tambo Reptiles to go Home

Article from iAfrica.com
Surviving reptiles from Madagascar that were found in three crates at OR Tambo airport in March, will be released back into the wild on the island, the NSPCA said on Tuesday. National Inspector Alistair Sinclair said the NSPCA, Johannesburg Zoo and the Madagascar Embassy had met to plan the release of about 450 reptiles.

The animals were still being tested for diseases, in order not to endanger the island's indigenous fauna and flora. Once all arrangements were made, the reptiles would be transported back to the island under supervision of a Joburg Zoo veterinarian and a NSPCA representative, said Sinclair. He hoped the transport would take place within a month. "The care for the animals costs us about R5000 a week. It is straining our funds," he said, adding that "every lizard is our responsibility".

Charges against the owners of the crates in which the animals were found have been laid by the Madagascar Embassy. The NSPCA has laid charges against the warehousing agency where the crates, destined for the Czech Republic, stood.

The crates were left unattended for five to six days before the NSPCA was informed of their existence and the animals were transported to Joburg Zoo. Two other crates containing reptiles had been in the warehouse for 12 to 14 days before they were returned to Madagascar - because the transporting agent had not paid the duties.

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