Over 10,000 endangered tortoises rescued in Madagascar

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Radiated tortoises are coveted for the star pattern on their shells. (Courtesy Turtle Survival Alliance Facebook)
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The radiated tortoises were found by police at a home in Toliara on April 10 and that they likely had been collected for the illegal pet trade, possibly in Asia. (Courtesy Turtle Survival Alliance Facebook)
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The Turtle Survival Alliance and other groups are caring for the tortoises at a wildlife facility in the Ifaty region of Madagascar. (Courtesy Turtle Survival Alliance Facebook)
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Radiated tortoises are coveted for the star pattern on their shells. (Courtesy Turtle Survival Alliance Facebook)
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The Turtle Survival Alliance and other groups are caring for the tortoises at a wildlife facility in the Ifaty region of Madagascar. (Courtesy Turtle Survival Alliance Facebook)
Updated 02 May 2018
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Over 10,000 endangered tortoises rescued in Madagascar

JOHANNESBURG: International conservationists in Madagascar have been treating more than 10,000 critically endangered radiated tortoises that were seized from traffickers who had crammed them into a home with no access to food or water.
The Turtle Survival Alliance and other groups are caring for the tortoises at a wildlife facility in the Ifaty region of the Indian Ocean nation, though hundreds have died from illness and dehydration.
The alliance says the radiated tortoises were found by police at a home in Toliara on April 10 and that they likely had been collected for the illegal pet trade, possibly in Asia.
Radiated tortoises are coveted for the star pattern on their shells.
Susie Bartlett, a veterinarian with the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society, says most of the surviving tortoises appear “fairly healthy.”


Stubbed out: Japan university stops hiring smoking professors

Updated 23 April 2019
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Stubbed out: Japan university stops hiring smoking professors

  • Nagasaki University the first state-run university to introduce such a condition of employment
  • Japan is steppiing up an anti-smoking campaign ahead of the 2020 Olympics

TOKYO: A Japanese university has stopped hiring professors and teachers who light up, officials said Tuesday, as the nation steps up an anti-smoking campaign ahead of the 2020 Olympics.
Nagasaki University spokesman Yusuke Takakura said they have “stopped hiring any teaching staff who smoke,” although applicants who promise to kick the habit before taking up their post could still be offered employment.
The university will also ban smoking entirely on campus from August, opening a clinic for those who cannot give up, said Takakura.
“We have reached a conclusion that smokers are not fit for the education sector,” the spokesman said, adding that the university had sought legal advice and does not believe the policy contravenes discrimination laws.
Local media said it was the first state-run university to introduce such a condition of employment and the move comes after Tokyo’s city government passed strict new anti-smoking rules last year ahead of the 2020 Summer Games.
Japan has long been an outlier in the developed world, considered a smoker’s paradise where lighting up is allowed in many restaurants and bars.
Tokyo’s new laws ban lighting up at restaurants in the capital, regardless of size. Restaurants can set up separate indoor smoking areas, but customers cannot eat or drink there.
Smoking is also banned entirely on school premises from kindergartens to high schools, although space can be set aside outside university and hospital buildings.
The World Health Organization has given Japan its lowest rating for efforts to prevent passive smoking, and it even scores poorly in the region compared with countries like China and South Korea.
Despite that, tobacco use in Japan has been falling in line with a broader global trend.