Sending Tortoises to Sir Richard Branson's Private Island

Representing the Turtle Conservancy, Actor (and tortoise enthusiast) Julian Sands traveled to Necker Island to deliver some very special cargo: Critically Endangered Burmese Star Tortoises and Endangered Burmese Black Mountain Tortoises, which were all bred by the Turtle Conservancy. Necker is Sir Richard Branson’s private island located in the British Virgin Islands. Branson is not only interested in the native ecology on Necker, but he is also focused on the global extinction crisis specifically with lemurs and tortoises. Richard already has a herd of giant Indian Ocean Aldabra Tortoises and a number of Red Footed Tortoises on the island. With our guidance and the skill of his Wildlife Conservation Manager, Vaman Ramlall, Richard has built a large outdoor compound to house the new VIP residents. These new arrivals are not being introduced into the wild but will be managed in very large open-air paddocks. If these two species thrive, as we know they will, we look forward to a continued partnership with Richard and further use of the island as another breeding colony in the battle against extinction. The climate and ecology of the island are ideal for these animals. We hope that Radiated Tortoises will soon follow. Our ultimate goal is to return all of these animals back to their native lands. Julian sat down with Richard for an interview and photo shoot for the next issue of The Tortoise Magazine.