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All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

- JRR Tolkien

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Environment

Nov 26, 2018

Rescued Indian Tortoises Fly Home to India on International Rescue Mission

In a unique repatriation mission, over 50 Indian Star Tortoises are finally flying home from where they were originally smuggled and sold into Singapore as victims of illegal wildlife trafficking.

WRITTEN BY

Sean Verity

This story was made available to The Outdoor Journal via a Wildlife SOS press release.

The 50 Indian Star Tortoises tortoises had been smuggled into Singapore illegally where they were confiscated by Singapore authorities. With cooperation from the Indian & Singapore Governments, they will now be repatriated to India and returned to their natural habitat in the forests of Karnataka.

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, India based wildlife conservation charity Wildlife SOS working closely with the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, Govt. of India secured permissions to repatriate the tortoises indigenous to India. Investigations confirmed Karnataka was the origin of the tortoises. A team of senior forest officers travelled with Wildlife SOS CEO Kartick Satyanarayan to Singapore to conduct physical inspection of the tortoises housed at the ACRES rescue center.

Rattle is one of the rescued tortoises

Singapore Airlines contributed to the cause of wildlife conservation by transporting the tortoises for free.

A three member team from Wildlife SOS India consisting of Veterinary Director Dr Arun A Sha, Special Projects Manager – Wasim Akram and Communication & Press Officer – Ms. Arinita Sandilya accompanied the tortoises from Singapore to India. They were joined by a three member team from Acres Singapore led by Anbarasi Boopal – Deputy CEO.

The tortoises were transported in specially designed boxes for the long plane journey and upon arrival in India, received by a team from Wildlife SOS including co founder Geeta Seshamani and former Chief Wildlife Warden and Head of forest force of Karnataka Mr. BK Singh.

The tortoises being prepped for their journey to India

Once the tortoises have completed their quarantine period of 3 months, Wildlife SOS intends to initiate radio tagging and monitor these animals for survival. This landmark project not only helps augment the endangered populations in India, but will also demonstrate the commitment from the Governments of India and Singapore and their zero tolerance to illegal wildlife trade.

Indian star tortoise is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and listed in Appendix II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna), which regulates international trade of wildlife. Yet it is one of the most trafficked tortoise species in the world owing to the unique star-like radiating pattern on their shell. The Indian Star Tortoise is poached extensively for their meat and use of their body parts in traditional medicine as well as for the exotic pet trade. Illegal trafficking of tortoises from Southern India to places like Singapore, China, Honk Kong Thailand, Malaysia etc. fuel the demand for this species.

One of the rescued tortoises all set to come back to India

Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder & CEO – Wildlife SOS said, “I am relieved that these tortoises are finally coming back to where they belong. I’m also delighted that the partnership between Wildlife SOS and ACRES resulted in a successful repatriation project. I’m grateful to the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF& CC), DGCA & Customs officials, Ministry of Agriculture, Government authorities of India & Singapore, Chief Wildlife Warden of Karnataka for their support and guidance.”

Anbarasi Boopal, Deputy Chief Executive of ACRES, said, “The odds never favoured us but our perseverance and sheer will together with support from Wildlife SOS paved the way for us to repatriate these animals. Blue, Rahayu and Boltz are just some of the animals we have repatriated in the past years which has led to our largest repatriation ever – the Indian star tortoises. We will continue our fight to end the illegal wildlife trade and strive to ensure that these animals stay where they belong – in the wild.”

Geeta Seshamani, Co founder & Secretary-Wildlife SOS said, “While we work together to put an end to illegal wildlife trafficking, it’s critical that such repatriation efforts are made to return these unique animals to their native habitat.”

Shri C.Jayaram, IFS, PCCF (Wildlife) & Chief Wildlife Warden of Karnataka said, “The Karnataka Forest Department is extremely happy to be a part of this unique opportunity to rehabilitate and release these tortoises back into their natural habitat.”

Dr Arun. A. Sha Director- Research & Veterinary Operations, Wildlife SOS said, “A team of Wildlife SOS field researchers will track these animals. A special soft release – anti predatory enclosure has been built by Wildlife SOS to prepare the tortoises for release into the wild. Each Tortoise will have visual identification (unique code on its carapace & plastron as well as microchips to identify individuals.”

Wasim Akram, Manager Wildlife SOS Special Projects said, “We have been working closely with the State forest department to identify a suitable location for soft release of these tortoises into their natural habitat. We will be installing radio telemetry devices (tags) to carry out post release monitoring to ensure their survival in the wild.

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Athletes & Explorers

Apr 21, 2019

Jess Roskelley, David Lama and Hansjörg Auer: How the World Reacted.

On Friday, the world was forced to come to terms with the passing of three climbing pioneers. Perhaps the biggest loss to the outdoor community in decades, respects were paid from around the world.

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WRITTEN BY

The Outdoor Journal

On Friday, news outlets from around the world reported that three world-class mountaineers who were climbing Alberta’s Howse Peak on Tuesday, April 16th were caught up in a large avalanche, that carried them to their likely deaths. Those mountaineers were 28-year-old Austrian David Lama, 36-year-old American Jess Rosskelley, and 35-year-old Hansjörg Auer.

Loved and admired by many, people from all walks of life have paid their respect. A few of those messages that have been shared on social platforms can be found below.

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David lebte für die Berge und seine Leidenschaft für das Klettern und Bergsteigen hat uns als Familie geprägt und begleitet. Er folgte stets seinem Weg und lebte seinen Traum. Das nun Geschehene werden wir als Teil davon akzeptieren.⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ Wir bedanken uns für die zahlreichen positiven Worte und Gedanken von nah und fern, und bitten um Verständnis, dass es keine weitere Stellungnahme von uns geben wird. Vielmehr bitten wir David mit seiner Lebensfreude, seiner Tatkräftigkeit und mit Blick Richtung seiner geliebten Berge in Erinnerung zu behalten. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ Die Familien von Hansjörg und Jess schließen wir in unsere Gedanken ein⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ Claudia & Rinzi Lama⁣⠀ ____________________________________⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ David dedicated his life to the mountains and his passion for climbing and alpinism shaped and accompanied our family. He always followed his own path and lived his dream. We will accept what now happened as a part of that.⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ We appreciate the numerous positive words and thoughts from near and far. Please understand that there will be no further comments from our side. We ask you to remember David for his zest for life, his enthusiasm and with a view towards his beloved mountains. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ Our thoughts are with Hansjörg’s and Jess‘ family⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ Claudia & Rinzi Lama

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I will walk by your side forever.

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We all go to the mountains because there is some innate part of being human that seeks challenge and there is endless challenge to be found in our wild places. I’ve always seen mountains as a blank canvas that lets me be an artist by choosing my unique path when amongst them. It’s freedom in its purest and most simple form. But, like many things in life, what you originally set out to do isn’t always where you end up. It’s the unexpected adventures along the way that create the true magic. There’s so much more to this passion than just the climb or the ski, there are the human connections created along this journey that have been some of the deepest and most profound friendships of my life. There is also tragedy. The mountains are both majestic and fierce. They give so much and they take so much. It is with profound sadness, frustration and even anger that this week we have lost so much passion, kindness, ingenuity and unadulterted talent with the passing of these three human beings. *** My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of David Lama, Hansjörg Auer and Jess Roskelley. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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It hurts to feel the crushing magnitude of losing people you not only really care about, but also that are such iconic figureheads of our community. My heart breaks and I am praying for the direct family members and loved ones involved. Jess was one of the most driven, positive, humble, goofy, and kind friends. He accomplished daunting mountains with a smile and inspiring ability to encourage you to see no limits, too. Despite the magnitude of his accomplishments, he wasn’t “above” anyone. He was a genuine, radical guy and husband to an equally inspiring, kickass woman, @alliroskelley David Lama- who in our direct community doesn’t have a story…? Soft spoken, genuine BADASS. Footsy (@magmidt 😭) It’s been some time since the three of us hung out together but I will never forget how you have always been the number one climber I have looked up to’s career…the childhood prodigy turned all-rounded mountain climbing technician. He was the guy that could probably come back from a long expedition and still fire 5.14’s like he never left the gym. Hansjorg; an Austrian legend, I didn’t know you as personally so well but man, your accomplishments were so damn legendary. It’s so hard for me to wrap my mind around this except for the fact that the mountains are at once beautiful and merciless. These guys knew what they were doing in the mountains. They were straight legends. That’s what is terrifying to me. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your resume is: extremely unlucky circumstances can still happen. 💔.

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🖤💫🙏🏻 no words.

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No sabemos ni como empezar este texto, son momentos tan duros que no nos salen ni las palabras. La pérdida de Hansjorg Auer, David Lama y Jess Roskelly es tan grande que nos hemos quedado vacíos. Son tantos los amigos perdidos en la montaña qué se nos encoge el corazón. Muchos ánimos a las familias y amigos. Conocíamos a Hans desde hace mucho tiempo. Le queríamos y admirabamos mucho, era una gran persona , muy entrañable y fuente de inspiración para muchos de nosotros, con el cual tuvimos la suerte de haber compartido mucho tiempo y aventuras. ¡Siempre estarás con nosotros! Tus latín brothers Eneko & iker. We do not know how to start this text, they are such hard moments that we do not even get the words. The loss of Hansjorg Auer, David Lama and Jess Roskelly is so hard that we are left empty. There are so many lost friends in the mountains that our hearts shrink. Many encouragement to families and friends. We had known Hans for a long time. We loved and admired him very much, he was a great person, very fond and a source of inspiration for many of us, with whom we were fortunate to have shared a lot of time and adventures. ¡You will always be with us! Your latin brothers. Eneko & iker

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Read Next: Hansjörg Auer: No Turning Back

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