KAR and the Tortoise
Submitted by Kim Betts – Kyrenia Animal Rescue…
Recently KAR Pet Travel was asked for help from a lady in the UK who wanted to bring her tortoise to TRNC. A pretty simple pet move you would think as there are no rabies vaccinations or blood tests required. But it wasn’t – as is often the case with pet travel the regulations surrounding the various species and countries varies enormously.
We had to consider what species of tortoise was the pet and did it fall within the CITES agreement and regulations. Some types of tortoise cannot be imported or exported anywhere as they are at real and imminent risk of extinction. Although the TRNC is not (and currently cannot be) part of the CITES agreement – which would not necessarily in itself stop some CITES animals entering the TRNC – it would affect any future movement away from the TRNC. Pet owners need to be very aware of this before they consider bringing their CITES pets to TRNC.
We also had to consider how to transport the tortoise. Their needs are very different to those of pet cats and dogs. Their ambient temperature has to be monitored carefully, their hibernation period must be taken into account, their feeding requirements before, during and after the journey needs to be planned carefully as it is possible that undigested food can rot in the food canal. Also their airline travel box has to meet strict criteria and is specifically designed for them to offer the utmost protection during handling and travel.
During the course of considering all of these various factors KAR Pet Travel were also in discussion with the TRNC Vet Dept regarding any specific vaccinations that the TRNC would require for the tortoise to enter. It was during this part of the planning that it transpired that there was to be an animal health warning issued in the very near future regarding the movement of tortoises. The USA had already stopped ALL import/export of tortoises due to an infectious disease that was carried by some which could then be transmitted to other reptiles. The EU was also expected to follow suit and ban the movement of tortoises. This would affect the export of the tortoise from the UK.
The TRNC is not part of the EU but whenever possible the Government Vet Dept tries very hard to harmonise their rules and regulations to reflect those of the EU.
Sadly we had to inform the owner that, at the current time, it would not be possible for her to bring her tortoise to the TRNC.
The very next KAR Pet Travel enquiry was from an owner of a rabbit in the UK – this pet movement is still ongoing.
It seems, in the event of a race — to enter the TRNC – that it is very likely that the rabbit (and not the Hare) will beat the tortoise.