Jump to content
David R

Leopard Tortoise status....

Recommended Posts

I recently wrote to MAF questioning the status of the Leopard Tortoise as a "Containment Animal" (ie for zoos only), and have finally got a reply. Unfortunately its in PDF format (they must still use typewriters or something :-? ) so I can't post it here. In short it says that the reason for the status is that the female that was gifted to the Auckland Zoo by Elanor Hannah, who brought it to NZ in 1956, was mated with an animal that had been attempted to be smuggled into the country in 1996 and was seized at the border. And there lies the problem.

As an illegal import, the health status and any particular disease risks were, and still are, unknown. The animal may have passed exotic diseases to other tortoises held by the Auckland Zoo, including its offspring. Without more information around the disease risk we are not prepared to allow this animal or its offspring to leave containment at the Auckland Zoo.

An Import Health Standard is needed to bring animals, such as tortoise, legally into New Zealand. An Import Health Standard is generally based on risk analysis, and determines what tests and treatments must be given before an animal can be given biosecurity clearance in New Zealand. There is currently no Import Health Standard to allow the import of the Leopard Tortoise into New Zealand.

With out an Import Health Standard it is not possibly to grant biosecurity clearance to the Leopard Tortoise and allow their release from the Auckland Zoo.

You can apply for an Import Health Standard and more information about htis process can be found on our webpage at the following link.

http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/ihs/search

And thats where I've stopped. I haven't had time to look through the link or even reply to their email. I just thought I'd throw it out there for people to discuss and think about over the xmas break.

So.......

ps. if anyone wants me to forward them a copy of their PDF reply send me an email at davidrummery@hotmail.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was talking to a fish importer the other day who got a similar Email from them regarding a hybrid fish which they destroyed and a week later they were being sold by another importer because both sides of the hybrid were approved for import. These have been here for years, do they know that, or are they still only interest in horses and trout.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think what they're saying is that even though the animal is already here they need to define the health risks as if it was being imported because of the smuggled animal that was used to breed the current population.

Does anyone know of any other Leopards that are/were here in private hands other than the one donated to the zoo?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would have thought that a simple test of the male leopard tortoise would sort this out, they are not a new organism as per your letter, so then it should come down to simply if they will allow the ones from the zoo to go into private hands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also,

They were held and possibly declared buy the Auckland zoo when the rules changed (lol) so should maybe possibly be able to be grandparented like the Water Dragons, Bearded Dragons Leopard geckos etc.

Just a thought.

Navarre

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I spoke to the egg heads at Maf about turtles years ago they were afraid of salmonella. When I suggested they should therefore eradicate shhep, goats sparrows, rats and mice etc (as well as humans) they realy didn't seem very interested. Are there any real disease problems with tortoises? The law on new organisms is pretty tough and would be very expensive to go through, so as Navarre suggests, getting them approved as existing would be a lot easier if possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2 things dont add up sounds like you been feed sum, i cant see the zoo keepin a reptile that could be sick enoff to infect the rest of them let alone breed it untested,also the tight import laws were open bout 4yrs ago between nz zoos and a couple of ozzys zoos to import tortoises of too kind star and leopard tortoise this was a big deal couse it hadnt happen in so long, the time to do this was short and sweet a couple of months and was only from zoo to zoo this is best i can remember could be wrong found it when i hit google to find info on tortoise care few years back the info is out there sum were

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Animals can carry diseases and they can be subclinical just like humans can. EG 1/3 of people with Hep C don't know they have it. My interest is wether totoises can carry some real nasties as opposed to salmonella or similar. One problem with the law today is that some diseases are pretty specific to a certain animal. Turtles and lizards tend to carry a specifc strain of salmonella and different animals can carry different strains of leptospirosis. These can be transmitted to humans and when humans get it you can be pretty sure that it came from that animal. There have been strains of Salmomella infecting humans in NZ which were pretty specific to poultry in Australia but had not been recorded here previously. Even though these strains may not be more virilent than other strains under this new regime they are new organisms and that kicks in all the drama that goes with that. So therefore a tortoise which has been here for twenty years and is found to have a disease surely does not have a new disease (it just had not been found before)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

that letter is pretty well bollocks?for a start they have already been released from akld zoo to other zoos,if there was any doubt about the health status at all this would never have happened would it?try and get hold of the organ grinder rather than the monkey?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
that letter is pretty well bollocks?for a start they have already been released from akld zoo to other zoos,if there was any doubt about the health status at all this would never have happened would it?

There is released and released. If an animal is "containment" it can be moved or its offspring sold to other containment facilities. They are talking about releasing it to the general public, not just containment facilities.

Navarre I think you're right about it not being a "new" animal, that is most likely the easiest/only way. I'll look into it more over the holidays...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ok so going on that crap letter. if we r to get these out we will need to get blood tests from them and also get a health standard writen up. anyone know how to do that??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think you should read the letter again David?something about releasing the animal or its offspring?

I have read the letter several times, and in the context of the discussion "release" means release from containment to the general public, transferring to another containment facility is not "releasing" it. I even mentioned in my original letter to them that other places (like Ti Point) had them, so I doubt they'd be ignorant enough to think Auckland Zoo are the only ones in the country with them.

Although we are dealing with bureaucrats here so anything is possibly... ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

for a start the Lady had the male not the female?All the ones at Ti Point or any other `containment facility` around the country are the progeny of that male and one or other of the zoo`s females that were confiscated whenever?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

it is a matter of adressing all aspects of a release application and submitting before the end of

january

so that paperwork is filed to be consiered in the next round

i feel all issues can be answered and a rapid assessment be asked for, this is less expensive than full assessment

would require a few minds on this so anyone up for it

nothing ventured nothing gained

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can a group of us chip in and pay for either Berend or Kevin from Lynfield vet to do some blood tests on some leopard tortoises from Ti Point. These guys are specialist reptile vets. If we could get a list from MAF of diseases they are concerned with thenif they came up clear, then surely this would give the green light? Given that both of these vets have have many letters after their names I would think that if they detailed all the possible diseases and the fact that the animals are clean then would this not be termed a health standard? Pretty simple I would have thought...correct me if I am wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the one that needs testing is the smuggled animal and its offspring

agreement would have to be got from the auckland zoo

a concerted effort from rep keepers on here would be needed to show this is not a fly by night thing

but a concerted effort by legitimate and serious keepers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Testing would probably be in the form of swabs and faecal samples.

I imagine that the list of diseases would be open. As these animals are almost certainly going to have their own unique bacterial flora, they could simply pick any microbe not known in NZ and lable it as unwanted. Whilst the risk form these would probably be minute, the onus would be on keepers to prove it.

I did know of two of these tortoises in private hands many, many years back. As to what happened to them and given the limited success of tortoise breeders I won't be holding my breath.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well dont anyone hold their breath. :-?

I am happy to contribute to to costs but I think that Auckland Zoo would probably like their own vets to do the testing as they are Aucklands animals.

I am also happy to work on submission and as a MAF vet owns one of my dogs I am also happy to ask if he will look at draft prior to submit rather than muck around and not get a complete submission done in time. However I am happy to be guided by interested parties.

I still think looking at an existing unreleased orgainism is better than a new orgainism. And if the MAf fish standards and gulp dare I say it the iggie thing are anything to go by, it will be bloods and swabs and feacal counts to see if there are unwanted bugs rather than tortises per say. If that is the case then Auckland Zoo should have all those work ups already CMAS/ARANZ or what ever it is called would require it for inter Zoo transfer. Just as they do for reptiles that are currently held and you can hold on permit.

Navarre

HTH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be happy to contribute financially if there is any cost involved, although given that its Auckland Zoo and Ti Point who initially stand to make a bit of money from this I'd hope they would be too. Is anyone friendly with the reptile keepers at the zoo?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They would also want blood tests I would think. Your reptile vet could advise. The problem with Maf is pinning them down to exactly what they want (in writing) They have a habit of shifting the playing field to another planet as soon as you have completed what they initially asked for. Do you need to go through Maf to get to Erma, both seperately, or how does it work? You would need to address any bio hazard of the animal itself as well as any disease it might carry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...