Where Have All The Turtles Gone

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Turtles and tortoises are disappearing throughout the world. Biologists estimate that there will be none left in 50 years - that's after surviving the dinosaurs! American Tortoise Rescue suggests how you can help stop the madness.

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  • As co-founder of American Tortoise Rescue in Malibu I recommend educating oneself on the causes of the disappearance of so many wild animal species: over-development, habitat destruction, over-harvesting of these animals for Asian live food markets worldwide with no regard for sustainability.
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Where Have All The Turtles Gone

  1. 1. Where are all the turtles?
  2. 2. A Presentation by American Tortoise Rescue Malibu, Calif.
  3. 3. 200 Million Years of Turtles <ul><li>Turtles have existed for more then 200 million years, longer than dinosaurs and virtually any other animal species. </li></ul><ul><li>Predictions by reliable biologists estimate that due to habitat destruction, exploitation, use as food and long net fishing, turtles will no longer exist in 50 years. </li></ul><ul><li>It has only taken the past 50 years to reach this dire situation. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Creatures Like These Will Be Gone
  5. 5. And this one…
  6. 6. And this one…
  7. 7. Turtles Are Often Overlooked <ul><li>By wildlife experts </li></ul><ul><li>By zoos </li></ul><ul><li>By biologists </li></ul><ul><li>By the general public </li></ul><ul><li>And by film producers </li></ul><ul><li>They aren’t warm and fuzzy. </li></ul>
  8. 8. But they are very important! <ul><li>They are a bellwether alarm for society. </li></ul><ul><li>Turtles contribute to the ecosystem. </li></ul><ul><li>They are a dispersal system for plants. </li></ul><ul><li>Turtles contribute to environmental diversity. </li></ul><ul><li>They have served as a food source for hundreds of years. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Can You Imagine Eating This? Ick!
  10. 10. A Biologist Reports… <ul><li>Jeffrey E. Lovich, National Biological Service, examined population trends in the U.S. He notes that there are few long-term studies. </li></ul><ul><li>With what data we do have, we can say with certainty that many turtle species in the U.S. are at risk of decline and extinction. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Biologist’s Report Contd. <ul><li>Of the 55 native turtle species in the United States and its offshore waters, 25 (45%) require conservation, and 21 (38%) are protected or are candidates for protection under the Endangered Species Act. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Biologist’s Report Contd. <ul><li>All land tortoises and marine turtles require conservation action. Of the remaining 46 turtle species (aquatic and semi-aquatic forms), 16 (35%) require conservation action. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Biologist’s Report Contd. <ul><li>The percentage of U.S. turtles requiring conservation action (45%) is similar to that of the larger planet (41%). </li></ul>
  14. 14. Some Reflections From ATR <ul><li>You don’t have to be a biologist to see declines. </li></ul><ul><li>The rescue gives us great insight into what is happening in the U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>We been on the front lines for 20 years. </li></ul><ul><li>There is no doubt that wild populations of certain species are rapidly declining - desert tortoises, map turtles, wood turtles and Blandings, for example. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Desert Tortoise
  16. 16. Wood Turtle
  17. 17. Map Turtle
  18. 18. Mediterranean
  19. 19. So What Can We Do? <ul><li>On May 23 rd 2000, American Tortoise Rescue established World Turtle Day as a means to educate and inform people throughout the world about the plight of turtles. </li></ul><ul><li>Each year, we conduct public education campaign through the press on May 23 rd . </li></ul>
  20. 20. World Turtle Day <ul><li>There are several areas we focus on. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A call to stop the cruel pet trade in turtles and tortoises. Thousands of turtles throughout the Midwest are collected each year by un- scrupulous dealers. Of the many healthy turtles collected, by the time they are driven by trucks to destinations throughout the country, as many as 98 percent are dead or dying… </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. This is “Hole” <ul><li>He was a victim of the pet trade. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Pet Trade <ul><li>What can we do? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t ever buy turtles even to rescue them. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Notify authorities when you observe turtles living in dirty cages or being mistreated. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Call the press on illegal street sales of turtles. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not link to sites that sell or breed turtles. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promote adoption only through ATR, turtlehomes.org and other reputable sites. </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Turtles As Food <ul><li>Many Asian peoples eat turtles and think that they have sex-enhancing or medicinal powers. </li></ul><ul><li>Millions of U.S. turtles are being exported for food since the Asian nations have eaten most of their own native stocks. </li></ul><ul><li>Live food markets exist in major U.S. cities and hyper-sensitivity about “immigrant bashing” prevents enforcement of existing animal cruelty, public safety laws or confiscation. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Typical Food Turtles <ul><li>Red Eared Slider </li></ul>
  25. 25. Food Turtles <ul><li>Asian Box Turtle </li></ul>
  26. 26. Food Turtles <ul><li>Softshell </li></ul>
  27. 27. Habitat Destruction <ul><li>Many, many turtles are killed by land developers and on the nation’s highways after their habitat has been destroyed. Desert tortoises are subject to the Federal ruling allowing them to be killed if habitat is replaced in exchange. Other than mass protests and working with environmental groups, there is little we can do to stop the carnage. </li></ul><ul><li>Tip: If you see a turtle on the road, take it across to where it was heading, otherwise it will just turn around and try again.. </li></ul>
  28. 28. So What’s A Mother To Do…? <ul><li>Keep talking up the wonderful turtle. </li></ul><ul><li>Join protective groups and donate when you can - we fight for so little of the philanthropic pie. </li></ul><ul><li>Become a volunteer. </li></ul><ul><li>Report cruelty to turtles and all animals. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t give up hope. They’ve been here a long time! </li></ul>
  29. 29. Goodbye from the Turtles at ATR <ul><li>Burger </li></ul>
  30. 30. ATR <ul><li>Lola </li></ul>
  31. 31. ATR <ul><li>Tank </li></ul>
  32. 32. ATR <ul><li>And Rosie </li></ul>
  33. 33. American Tortoise Rescue <ul><li>www.tortoise.com </li></ul>

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