Yes, there is a booming illegal animal trade going on for these slow to run away little turtle and tortoises. It may be too late to protect most of them but there is one guy who is doing his very best to protect them. Maybe we should know his name better than Honey Boo Boo but no one really knows him. His name is Eric Goode and he is rich from owning some of New York City’s hottest hotels, bars, and restaurants.
China alone is involved in hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal trading of the species. The market flourishes because the payoff is huge and the chances of getting prosecuted or incarcerated for breaking the law is slim. He spends a million dollars per year of his own money to fight the trade in places like Madagascar which is an island off the coast of Africa. The place is very undeveloped where the people are very poor. Most people there make less than a dollar per day.
To try to stop the trafficking he and others have been drilling markings in the shells to make them unwanted. There are so few animals that they are taking the extreme measures to scar the shells in order to make them invaluable to poachers in an attempt to save their lives. Spider tortoises are destroyed simply to eat the liver of the thing. A Radiated Tortoise plucked from the outdoors can give a poacher $400 dollars cash on the spot. Great money when anything else you do earns you only about a dollar a day.