After much neighborly patience and anticipation, this house in Madagascar was finally reported to the authorities, with good reason. The family who is living next door had smelled a strong and strange odor coming from the abandoned house for some time, but they had no clue what it could be. Nevertheless, it was clear there was something not right here. No one involved in the smelly situation ever anticipated they would find what they found living in the home…
Where Was The Stench In The Neighborhood Coming From?
What would you do if some house in your neighborhood begins to give out a really foul stench? Many people living in this neighborhood in Madagascar thought this particular house had been abandoned, but this was not the case here.
The Smell Was Suffocating
It came to a point when the residents of this area felt suffocated because the smell got so intense. They began to wonder how such a smell could come from this place when no one actually lived there.
They Figured It Out
In the beginning, the people living in the neighborhood could not put their finger on where the smell actually came from and for a time, they just tried to pretend it did not exist. They thought it would go away eventually, but unfortunately, it never did. Needless to say, blaming one another was something they did not want to do as this would only make the issue worse. Finally, everyone came to the conclusion that the smell was coming from an abandoned house in the neighhorhood, and by this point, they knew that they had to do something.
The Neighbors Were Confused
Everyone may have been under the impression that it was an abandoned house, but they saw people going in and out of it. They could not believe these people were actually fine with going near the terrible-smelling house and even going inside it.
Just The Start
The residents also began to wonder what exactly was causing the smell. To the delight of everyone, the smell went away for quite some time, and they thought it was never coming back. However, they were wrong, and while they thought that was the end of it… the truth was it was only the beginning.
The Return Of The Stench
Everyone assumed they did not need to worry about the smell, but it came back! At this point, the neighbors decided to get together and discuss their next move. By then, everyone had concluded that the stench was really coming from that specific house, and they knew going inside on their own was simply not possible.
They Called In Some Backup
They decided to contact the authorities. They told the officers that the smell was becoming a big issue in the neighborhood. After the officers heard this, they came up with a theory about the reason for the stench.
Time To Investigate
After the officers got the call, they began to do their duty by launching an investigation on the house. They asked several neighbors to accompany them to be able to navigate the area properly. Since the police officers did not know what they might find inside the house and were not sure what they would discover, it was important that they make the necessary preparations. If anything went awry, there was a team of specialists together with them. there was a medical examiner and a wildlife expert there, among others.
The Wildlife Committee Members
Soary Randrianjafizanaka was on the wildlife committee and was part of the department whom the authorities called to ask for help with the investigation. Randrianjafizanaka’s department usually provides help when there are reports of foul smells. She is the agency head and when she heard the story, she decided to come and investigate the matter herself. She was curious because she lived in the same area. Randrianjafizanaka had a sneaking suspicion about what was inside the house waiting for them, but she was completely wrong!
Welcome To Toliara
The house was in the city Toliara, which is on the southwest coast of Madagascar in East Africa. The town is very beautiful and known to be quite peaceful. Judging by how the beaches look, Toliara looks like an absolute paradise!
No Way It Was Foul Play
The residents generally manage to co-exist with no tension. The city has a really good reputation, so the police officers had a hard time believing that foul play was involved here. This is why they contacted Randrianjafizanaka. After all, it was possible that it was animal-related.
The Agency Has Lots Of Experience
In the many years that the Environmental Agency has existed, it has seen plenty of unbelievable incidents which involve animals. They have dealt with cases involving different animals, from pitiful kittens to very fierce predators. The question was: What animal involved this time?
No One Had Any Idea
The agency has come across many different animals in the area, which is why the police always gets in touch with them if they believe an animal is involved in a case that they are investigating. At that point, the authorities had no idea where the investogation was going.
As soon as the team got to the address, the pungent smell immediately met them, though it was something that they could not quite put their fingers on. In Randrianjafizanaka’s line of work, she had seen all kinds of situations, but this one stood out like a sore thumb, and she had no idea what was causing the smell. The rest of the team were not doing any better as they also could not think of anything that might be the reason for the stench. They all entered the house feeling quite uncertain.
The House Looked Nothing Out Of The Ordinary
Aside from the unbelievable stench that came from it, the house did not look unusual from the outside and it was pretty big. Nobody would have guessed a dark secret was hiding inside the structure…and it was so quiet inside that it felt eerie. Everybody was wondering why this nice house ended up being abandoned and they looked around for signs that it was on the market. They found none.
Time To Go In
As the police and experts went inside, they began to feel lightheaded because of the intense stench. Even though the foul odor engulfed them, they had no other choice but to keep going to investigate the house. They had not discovered where the stench was coming from, so everyone on the investigation team continued to look around for explanations. Randrianjafizanaka thought that animal waste might be causing the smell, and she told the others about it. Let us find out if she actually hit the mark with her comment.
Animals Or Humans
By that time, Randrianjafizanaka was almost sure the smell was connected to animals since she knew that animals being trapped in a specific place causes such a smell. However, she could not dismiss the possibility of someone living in the house just yet. When she saw how the interiors looked, she arrived at a conclusion that nobody was living there. The team had many questions about this house and soon enough, some of them were going to have answers.
A Sudden Noise
As the team continued to explore the house more, they suddenly heard a noise and everyone stopped in their tracks. It was not really a loud sound, but it was audible and the whole team heard it. They started to be on their guard because they clearly had company. Turns out, there were other people on the property at that time and both parties got shocked with this turn of events. The police and experts only got more confused this time.
In The Middle Of Digging Holes
At last, the team came face-to-face with those who made the noise – they had shovels on hand! The team was confused by what they saw, which were people who seemed to be in a hurry to dig holes. Other objects also surrounded these people. The officers and experts definitely had no idea what was going on, and while they had expectations in mind, their discovery changed things. For example, they had thought the house was abandoned, but turns out it was not.
Approaching the diggers, the team asked what these people had been doing, and the diggers began to behave strangely, though it should not come as a surprise. It was clear that something was wrong about the situation and it did not help that the diggers looked like they were hiding something. The police officers were familiar with the look, and as soon as they came near the men, the diggers dropped the shovels as though the things burnt them. However, the team still did not understand the situation by then. What had these men been up to?
Arresting The Suspects
The diggers could probably sense they were in trouble as their hands immediately went up in the air after dropping the shovels. It appears as if they did not see any point in running away and decided to cooperate instead. This behavior led the police to assume the men were up to no good, so the officers followed protocol and apprehended the suspects. The authorities then returned inside the house to take a look at the thing the diggers were planning to hide, but of course, this meant they had to brave the awful smell once more.
Destroyed On The Inside
As the team made their way back into the house, they notice how destroyed its interiors were. Everything seemed to be falling apart. The windows and ceilings had a lot of cobwebs in them and there was no light. They already had suspects, but the team still had not been able to identify where the stench was coming from.
The Moving Floor
Then, they discovered something incredible. It seemed the floor was moving in different areas of the house! Upon noticing this, they were shocked. Soon after that, they finally figured it out.
Tortoises Filled The Floor
Almost all of the floor was packed with tortoises! It was as if the poor things were sardines. So many of them were that they almost made up the floor. The team was definitely shocked by what they were seeing.
Covered In Shells
The moment she saw them, Randrianjafizanaka could tell they were not regular tortoises. She knew where they came from. The floor became hard to see because the poor creatures were all over it.
They Needed To Be Rescued
Randrianjafizanaka immediately knew what needed to be done. She needed to move the tortoises from the house to a suitable and safe place. She couldn’t believe that the animals were in such condition. She was shocked by their sheer number as well.
She Needed To Act Fast
The animals went through some terrible treatment for what seemed to be a long time, so she was certain that a number were at risk of dying if they were left untreated. It would surely take plenty of time and hard work, but not acting right away would make things even worse.
A Rare Species
Randrianjafizanaka knew these tortoises were special and she was right, of course. They are rare tortoises called radiated tortoises and they are not usually seen in the wild. Just a few species are actually native to Madagascar.
Their nature is distinctively docile and their shell has unique markings. Before long, Randrianjafizanaka and the rest of the team started to find out why all of these creatures had been in the possession of the arrested diggers. It also explains why the men surrendered.
They Often Get Poached
These animals are very rare, so poachers find them as ideal targets. There are even people that eat these poor animals as a delicacy. Needless to say, there are also people that want to have them as pets. Nevertheless, it is still illegal for anyone to be in possession of the rare tortoises.
Illegal Operations Are Common
As you can see, things are not better even with laws in place. There are still a lot of illegal operations involving poaching the animals, which are then sold on the black market. Because of this, the species has almost gone extinct This instance was particularly heinous, though.
This Endangered Species
There was one point in history when the species had been thriving. However, their numbers have recently gone down drastically. The team could see that a lot of these tortoises were inside the house, but it was hard to tell just how many there were. Apparently, 9,000 tortoises were crammed in there!
During the 1990s, records show that the population of the tortoises was at around 12 million, which is actually on the low end of things. By 2010, their number dipped to below 6 million. Now, there are only around 3 million of them.
On The Bright Side
Even though the conditions the tortoises had been in were really horrendous, the team was glad that they recovered thousands of the animals. Many of the tortoises were in rather bad shape, so the team had to take plenty of care when they transferred the poor creatures to somewhere safer.
A Storm Is Coming
The team came across very many tortoises, and they were glad to have been able to help the poor animals out. It seemed as if not everything was going really well, though. Are you ready to find out what that means?
The Terrible News
The experts and police officers were glad to have found the tortoises, but they found out something terrible as well. Sadly, they learned many of the tortoises would not survive because they were in absolutely terrible shape.
A lot of the poor creatures were extremely dehydrated. Even after working on them really hard, the vets failed to save many of the tortoises. Even if the vets worked around the clock, it was impossible to save thousands of tortoises.
The Neighbors Could Not Believe It
The people who contacted the authorities about the stench were definitely shocked by how things ended. They did not know that criminals were staying in the house. Needless to say, they did not suspect 9,000 rare tortoises were inside the house either!
They Would Have Gotten Away
We are quite sure that had they not called it in, the culprits would have gone scot-free. The story made rounds online and was especially popular among the activists who want everyone to see the mistreatment of animals.
Commonplace Animal Cruelty
Many people may have been caught, arrested, and charged for animal cruelty, but it continues to occur every single day. It seems that greed has overcome people so much that they have forgotten these animals are living breathing creatures that are worthy of respect.
Sadly, the pet industry is not that much better either. A lot of people opt to totally boycott the industry as they do not believe that the animals are treated very well. Either way, it is the animals that are always at a disadvantage.
The Plan For The Tortoises
We are still happy to hear that approximately 8,000 tortoises survived this near-death experience. At that point, the question was where they should go. The experts were not really sure it would be fine to release the tortoises in the wild so soon. However, what should be done?
Comfort And Happiness
The experts were aware that no facility was capable of looking after all of the 8,000 tortoises. The poor animals had been through the worst, so everybody wanted the tortoises to feel comfortable and happy. This was just a small thing that they could do for the poor creatures!
Their Entire Lives
It turns out that it was not possible to release the tortoises into the wild just like that anyway. The critters have spent almost all their lives inside the house. If they were released into the wild, they would only be in danger of getting caught by poachers again or dying.
Get Them Somewhere Safe
Instead, teams of experts wanted to take care of the tortoises well to ensure the animals are comfortable and safe. Now, they can relax after having spend a long time in an atrocious place.
A Good Start
The tortoises are now living the life. They do not need to worry about water, food, and attention. After all, a team is dedicated to looking after them. Right now, researchers are trying their best to bring the population up. We are sure things are beginning to look up for the animal survivors.
Reviving A Population
This is a good place to start seeing as the researchers did get 8,000 tortoises. Let us hope the species fares better in the future. Hopefully, the turtle population can be revived with the help of the researchers, like-minded organizations and people with warm hearts.
The people that kept the poor turtles in such horrendous conditions are criminals. Aside from that, they are animal abusers too. Considering the extent of their crime, it is not hard to understand why numerous people wanted the criminals to be punished accordingly.
In court, they were judged harshly and handed long prison sentences. People now know what would happen if they did the same thing. Now, the criminals will surely know what it feels like for their freedom to be taken away and be held in a small space.
Let’s Help Them All
We hope this story inspires people to be kinder to animals. If you sense foul play, do not hesitate to reach out to authorities. Without that call to from neighbors concerned about the foul smell, the police would never have caught the crooks, and the tortoises would not have been rescued!