Rare reptiles in the Moscow zoo

For the first time Moscow zoo will exhibit endangered reptile species seized from traffickers. Among them are the green tree monitor from New Guinea, several bright chameleons from Madagascar and neighboring islands, Indian star tortoise from India and Sri-Lanka, and Mexican box turtle.

All those animals were seized from traffickers who brought them into Russia for illegal disposal. Customs inspectors have rescued the animals and passed them to the zoologists. The reptiles were transported illegally and the transportation conditions were dreadful. A lot of animals were severely undernourished. The latest batch mostly consisted of chameleons who were put into the tiniest boxes and jars. A lot of females were pregnant because the animals were captured during the mating season. Chameleons are gentle and sensitive creatures who are prone to stress. Many of them have not survived this transportation.

For a long time the rescued reptiles stayed at the quarantine area where they could rehabilitate. At the moment they are not exhibited, but we have chosen the most beautiful and strong specimens to show them to you. A lot of species need very special housing conditions.

The main goal of this exhibit is to make visible the problem of illegal capture and animal trafficking.

You can find 70 various reptile species at the "World of reptiles" exhibit. All the newcomers represent very rare species that cannot be transferred freely, and their disposal is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna (CITES).