If you have one of these loveable little tykes kicking around in your back garden, as from the 1st of July you could be sent down for between 6 and 24 months in the local clink, as well as a hefty fine.
It’s all been illegal to own one of the tortoises, but it’s been an administrative fine up to now and it was only really a risk if you were breeding them and selling them. So many, many, many, many people have one somewhere in the garden.
The new law is justified by the fact that testudo graeca is endangered. The tortoise amnesty was the idea of mayor Martin Morales who thought it was a good way to get the word out about the new law and help owners give up their pets safe in the knowledge that they would be looked after.
SERBAL, the Almeria biodiversity group, is also offering a tortoise amnesty across the province until the 1st. If you have a tortoise you can call them on 950 00 57 10, or contact the tortoise sanctuary directly, Centro de Recuperación de Especies Amenazadas (CREA) (670 94 45 92) who will send someone out to pick it up.
Rescued tortoises will be taken to the CREA in Velez Rubio where they are checked to make sure they are clean and healthy before being released back into the wild in appropriate points. Unless they’re taken up there in the winter, when apparently they freeze to death in the grounds of the tortoise gulag.