Importing a pet turtle after living in Africa

Cholwe bana fulwe

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Zambia
Hi all! A tiny (I think) spekes hingeback walked into the rural health clinic I volunteer at in zambia. I’ve kept it for a few months and want to bring it home with me after peace corps service. Any advice on flying with a tiny pet tortise? Or rules regs for importing???
Tortoises are badly treated here. Believed to be used in witchcraft, when children find them they throw them as far as possible. Or throw them into a fire. They are eaten when larger and almost always killed on sight. Many people here I’ve spoken to think they are venomous and do not believe me when I tell them they are not. I can really see why they are endangered. My tiny little friend is sweet, a great eater, loves mushrooms and earthworms and snails/slugs and the occasional carrot tomato and other leafy green.
It’s fearless and friendly and eats out of my hand. Sometimes around it’s eyes looks wet, not always. If anyone can tell me about that I’d appreciate it.
Mostly I want to make sure it comes home with me, due to it certainly being killed if I left it here.

Any advice on tortoise transport to the USA?
Can tortoises adapt to high altitude in Colorado?

Thanks anyone for your help!
 

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Tom

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Hi all! A tiny (I think) spekes hingeback walked into the rural health clinic I volunteer at in zambia. I’ve kept it for a few months and want to bring it home with me after peace corps service. Any advice on flying with a tiny pet tortise? Or rules regs for importing???
Tortoises are badly treated here. Believed to be used in witchcraft, when children find them they throw them as far as possible. Or throw them into a fire. They are eaten when larger and almost always killed on sight. Many people here I’ve spoken to think they are venomous and do not believe me when I tell them they are not. I can really see why they are endangered. My tiny little friend is sweet, a great eater, loves mushrooms and earthworms and snails/slugs and the occasional carrot tomato and other leafy green.
It’s fearless and friendly and eats out of my hand. Sometimes around it’s eyes looks wet, not always. If anyone can tell me about that I’d appreciate it.
Mostly I want to make sure it comes home with me, due to it certainly being killed if I left it here.

Any advice on tortoise transport to the USA?
Can tortoises adapt to high altitude in Colorado?

Thanks anyone for your help!
Sadly, there is not an easy way to do this. Contact an animal broker and try to go that route. Doing it yourself is near impossible.
 

Cholwe bana fulwe

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Zambia
So sad what is done to tortoises over there.
I can alert a few members that might be able to point you in the right direction.
@Yvonne G
@Tom
@Markw84
@Kapidolo Farms
Thank you! ! I’ve contacted CDC and USDA and fish and wildlife and can’t find any restrictions. Not sure about a permit for entry to the USA. all I need is a vet certificate to leave Zambia. The airlines might be an issue,. . . From what I’ve read, most airlines don’t mind as long as they approve in advance. Of course it can’t be out of its carrier during the flight and the cage must fit under the seat! :) but I’d have to fly through Ethiopia and likely another country, transport through other countries can be tricky . Hmmmm. Anyone know of any tortoise importers? I can’t leave him here. It’s such a little gem! Giant mushrooms are their primary diet here and when I find one it is so very happy. Here’s a photo of him yawning after waking up from a nap in his giant mushroom cap.
 

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Kapidolo Farms

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Hi all! A tiny (I think) spekes hingeback walked into the rural health clinic I volunteer at in zambia. I’ve kept it for a few months and want to bring it home with me after peace corps service. Any advice on flying with a tiny pet tortise? Or rules regs for importing???
Tortoises are badly treated here. Believed to be used in witchcraft, when children find them they throw them as far as possible. Or throw them into a fire. They are eaten when larger and almost always killed on sight. Many people here I’ve spoken to think they are venomous and do not believe me when I tell them they are not. I can really see why they are endangered. My tiny little friend is sweet, a great eater, loves mushrooms and earthworms and snails/slugs and the occasional carrot tomato and other leafy green.
It’s fearless and friendly and eats out of my hand. Sometimes around it’s eyes looks wet, not always. If anyone can tell me about that I’d appreciate it.
Mostly I want to make sure it comes home with me, due to it certainly being killed if I left it here.

Any advice on tortoise transport to the USA?
Can tortoises adapt to high altitude in Colorado?

Thanks anyone for your help!
About 8 years ago was the last time I took a deep look into the wrangling associated with doing this. It can be as simple as declaring it, and walking out of the airport here in the US. Pets that don't require a health screening only need be declared, at the port of entry. That said....

It's better to get permission, not forgiveness as the person who looks over your docs may be a real a$$. It is a Kinixy's and they, based on one species (maybe two), had an import ban for many years. If I recall, the banned species is still banned, but taxonomy has changed out underneath the spirit of the ban, so from at least one interpretation would suggest they are still considered banned. that was K. belliana.

At least one USFWS port enforcement agent told me, it's always going to be a 50/50 proposition when you just show up with a pet. To get ahead of all this maybe you can go online, find the import docs required for bringing a pet in, e-file them, and more or less be pre-approved before you even take off. It's very important to maintain the status as a "pet", otherwise it's considered 'commercial' and that's a deeper entry into regs.

Hopefully someone with a more recent experience could let you know what's what.

Whatever, don't try to sneak it. If caught, airline authorities seem to still be riding high on their authority and can make much trouble. I've not done any 'on the spot declarations' since 2009, I don't know the current mood.
 

Cathie G

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Hi all! A tiny (I think) spekes hingeback walked into the rural health clinic I volunteer at in zambia. I’ve kept it for a few months and want to bring it home with me after peace corps service. Any advice on flying with a tiny pet tortise? Or rules regs for importing???
Tortoises are badly treated here. Believed to be used in witchcraft, when children find them they throw them as far as possible. Or throw them into a fire. They are eaten when larger and almost always killed on sight. Many people here I’ve spoken to think they are venomous and do not believe me when I tell them they are not. I can really see why they are endangered. My tiny little friend is sweet, a great eater, loves mushrooms and earthworms and snails/slugs and the occasional carrot tomato and other leafy green.
It’s fearless and friendly and eats out of my hand. Sometimes around it’s eyes looks wet, not always. If anyone can tell me about that I’d appreciate it.
Mostly I want to make sure it comes home with me, due to it certainly being killed if I left it here.

Any advice on tortoise transport to the USA?
Can tortoises adapt to high altitude in Colorado?

Thanks anyone for your help!
Good luck and best hopes and prayers for you and your tortoise for a good outcome. S/he's so beautiful.
 

Shelled

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Just to add. They are protected in Zambia, if you want to keep it in Zambia, you need to get a permit from DNPW in Chilanga. They are taking their wildlife laws seriously. Yes there is poaching, but there are also strict laws, and high convictions rates when caught.
 

Cholwe bana fulwe

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Zambia
Just to add. They are protected in Zambia, if you want to keep it in Zambia, you need to get a permit from DNPW in Chilanga. They are taking their wildlife laws seriously. Yes there is poaching, but there are also strict laws, and high convictions rates when caught.
Thank you! I am in the process now I know!!!
 

Cholwe bana fulwe

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Joined
Mar 2, 2023
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Location (City and/or State)
Zambia
Just to add. They are protected in Zambia, if you want to keep it in Zambia, you need to get a permit from DNPW in Chilanga. They are taking their wildlife laws seriously. Yes there is poaching, but there are also strict laws, and high convictions rates when caught.
Shelled! Do you know a contact name or phone to interact with DPNW in Chilanga. Do you know if I can go to the office in Livingstone instead, it’s closer. Having trouble finding out who actually accepts the submission of paperwork for permits. The emails have not be returned.
Thanks for any advice!
 

Shelled

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I don't know currently who would deal with it. Maybe try the 'Zambian snakes and other crawlies' facebook group?
 

2turtletom

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Shelled! Do you know a contact name or phone to interact with DPNW in Chilanga. Do you know if I can go to the office in Livingstone instead, it’s closer. Having trouble finding out who actually accepts the submission of paperwork for permits. The emails have not be returned.
Thanks for any advice!
Would love to know the end to this story......
 

Sarah2020

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Is there not a nature reserve near where you are? sometimes they will take animals when expats leave? I think you check out what is possible for transit but there are strict rules on tortoise export esp if they are endangered in Zambia. You may have to leave it behind.
 
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