World Turtle Day
Since 2000, people around the globe have celebrated World Turtle Day each May 23, to help people better understand turtles around the world.
“World Turtle Day was started to increase respect and knowledge for the world’s oldest creatures,” says Susan Tellem, one of the founders of American Turtle Rescue (ATR). “These gentle animals have been around for about 200 million years, yet they are rapidly disappearing as a result of the exotic food industry, habitat destruction and the cruel pet trade.”
Tellem and co-founder Marshall Thompson believe that turtles may be fully extinct within 50 years. They also suggest ways to increase their chances for survival for future generations:
• Never buy a turtle or tortoise from a pet shop, as it increases demand from the wild.
• Never remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they are sick or injured.
• 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.
• Write letters to legislators asking them to keep sensitive habitat preserved or closed to off-road vehicles, and to prevent offshore drilling that can lead to more endangered sea-turtle deaths.
• Report cruelty or illegal sales of turtles and tortoises (FWC wildlife alert hotline) to your local animal control shelter.(Animal Services)
• Report the sale of any turtle or tortoise, of any kind, of less than four inches. This is illegal everywhere in the United States.
For more information, visit Tortoise.com or Facebook.com/AmericanTortoiseRescue.
Source: Natural Awakenings magazine.
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