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A battle won

Since the implementation of the International trade in endangered species of Fauna and Flora in 2005, this is the most severe penalty issued by the court in that kind of case.

Letter to readers from Nanie Ratsifandrihamanana- Express de Madagascar - October 2018 

On October 25, the Court of First instance of Toliara tried two cases involving  radiated tortoise trafficking. The verdict sentenced the traffickers to 6 years of imprisonment and a fine of Ariary 100 million and 30 and 50  million for covering the damage and cost to the Ministry of Environment , Ecology and Forest. Since the ratification of the International trade in endangered species of Fauna and Flora in 2005, this is the most severe penalty issued by the court in this kind of case. I would like to congratulate those who have been made this possible.  Either at the regional authorities in charge of environment or magistrates of the Court of First instance of Toliara .

And yet, one might think that the context did not lead especially to such verdict: electoral period, various pressures and especially many precedents remained unpunished. But when the will and the determination are there, when the efforts converge towards the same purpose when everyone , decides to assume fully his or her  responsibilities, everything is possible.

“Never doubt that a small group of conscientious  and committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, that is the only thing that has ever existed, "said a famous anthropologist. That's what happened. Real sustainable change can come only from each and every one of us. Good food for thought in this final leg of the election campaign and on the eve of elections.

But let us go back to the tortoises. The verdict of October 25 is a first battle won, but let us not be complacent because the war is far from being won. While the trial has been held in Toliara, the authorities were seizing another 7,347 animals a few dozen kilometers away in Tongobory, in the district of Betioky-South. One thing is certain: the people involved in this case are still operating ; the small thieves are certainly in custody but the big ones are still running, ignoring the law. Such relentlessness reflects the financial stakes behind this case, perhaps even that "the bill " has already been paid and that it is absolutely necessary to deliver "the goods"...?
Once again (I had already written it in April), collecting 10,000 or 7,000 turtles requires a planned organization, human and logistical resources. Let us not rest on these first laurels. For this first victory to be meaningful, we must hold on until the perpetrators of such trafficking must be identified, prosecuted and punished according to the legislation in force. the sanction should set  an exemple.
© Rolland Eve