• Kim Bresseleers

May 23, 2020 World Turtle Day

American Tortoise Rescue, a nonprofit organization established in 1990 for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle, is sponsoring its 20th annual World Turtle Day® on May 23. The day was created as an annual observance to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world.

Why World Turtle Day?

Sea turtles have been around for more than 100 million years. But now nearly all species are classified as endangered, with three of the seven species left being critically endangered.

They are endangered because of:

  • Human activity, such as killing turtles for their eggs, meat, skin, and shells.

  • Destroyed habitat, by over-development of holiday resorts and big ports.

  • Fishing nets and other equipment.

  • Climate change: This has an impact on turtle nesting sites; by changing the temperature of the sand, the gender of the hatch-lings is affected. So there are too many females and not enough males to help numbers grow.

Conservation groups are working hard across the globe to try to save these precious animals and protect their habitat.

What you can do to contribute to the preservation of turtles and tortoises?

  1. Never buy a turtle or tortoise from a pet shop as it increases demand from the wild.

  2. Report the sale of any turtle or tortoise of any kind less than four inches. This is illegal throughout many countries.

  3. Never remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they are sick or injured. 

  4. Report the cruelty or illegal sales of turtles and tortoises to your local animal control shelter. 

  5. Emergency care: If a tortoise is crossing a busy street, pick it up and send it in the same direction it was going – if you try to make it go back, it will turn right around again. 

  6. Write letters to legislators asking them to keep sensitive habitat preserved or closed to off road vehicles, and to prevent off shore drilling that can lead to more endangered sea turtle deaths.

Based on information of World Turtle Day - www.worldturtleday.org

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