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Posts tagged "turtles"


Three-week-old baby sulcatta tortoises, which have been named Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo and Michelangelo, hitch a ride on the back of their mother Margaret at the Lake District Wild Life Park near Keswick. It’s the first time the wildlife park has successfully bred Africa’s largest tortoise.

Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA (via Pictures of the day: 16 October 2014 - Telegraph)



Even Galapagos tortoises enjoy watermelon in the summer. Watch the full video.


Endangered Tortoises Are Being Defaced on Purpose… to Protect Them

by Sabrina Elfarra

Some of the rarest tortoises in the world are a hot commodity on the black market for their unique golden shells which can sell for tens of thousands of dollars.

In an effort to obstruct poachers, conservationists have made the bold move to carve into the shells of the tortoises, protecting the animals by making their domes less attractive.  The branded shells also make it easier for authorities to trace them if they are stolen.

“Endangered tortoises and turtles are facing a real threat, and we’re hoping that this will be an effective tool to keep them safe,” Eric Goode, the founder and president of the Turtle Conservancy told ABC News today.

Years of hunting have caused near extinction for many tortoise species, so sanctuaries and zoos are using identification marks, including laser inscribing, tattoos and engraving to hinder poachers and discourage collectors from paying a great deal of money for the animals.

Since the conservancy began putting the branded tortoises back into the wild in 2011, the shells have not come up in the black market, which officials believe is a good sign.

The Turtle Conservancy’s Behler Chelonian Center in Ventura County, Calif., has been working with ploughshare tortoises among others which originate from Madagascar. Their goal is to engrave the shells of both the ploughshares in captivity as well as those living in the wild…

(read more: ABCNews)

photos by The Turtle Conservancy

Turtles may have been a victim of dynamite used to fish illegally.

At least 70 dead turtles were spotted on beaches and in shallow waters in northern Guanacaste on Tuesday, but reports from fishermen indicate that the death toll may be much higher.

“We have reports from fishermen whose boats are surrounded by hundreds of dead turtles,” Roger Blanco, the lead investigator for the Guanacaste Conservation Area with SINAC, told The Tico Times. “They say they are headed for shore.”

With its black shell and dark body, the rare Eastern Pacific green sea turtle sub-population is considered a separate species from the green sea turtle by some scientists. The sub-population is critically endangered both in Costa Rica and worldwide.

Via TicoTimes (!: graphic image)

Breakout Year for India’s Narrow-Headed Softshell Turtle

One of India’s most iconic and recognizable turtles, the Giant Narrow-headed softshell turtle (Chitra indica) hasbeen a primary focus of TSA India’s program since 2007.

Locating and protecting nests in the upper Ganges, Chambal and lower Yamuna river systems has resulted in thousands of hatchling being released that likely would have not survived.  In the process, much has been learned about the nesting ecology, abundance and distribution of this heavily hunted species.  However, efforts to start a pilot husbandry program, with the goal of refining captive rearing techniques that would allow the development of an assurance colony, have met with setbacks and frustrations over the years.

In an effort to reverse this trend, a solar water heater was installed at one of our captive facilities – Kukrail – and the enclosure was wrapped in plastic sheeting to retain heat.  50 hatchlings were retained for rearing in early 2013, but 30 perished due to temperature extremes.  However 20 survived and now weigh more than 150 grams as of September 2013.  Last week another 60 eggs from two nests were moved to Kukrail for incubation and headstarting again this year.

From Turtle Survival Alliance, one of my favorite conservation non-profits.

Rare North American Desert Tortoise to be euthanized. Land owners once paid a fee that went to Desert Tortoise conservation. But the real estate market tanked, drying up the funding source. The lesson learned - with respect to species conservation - is beware of “win-win” agreements between the feds and free market players. A species will out last any economic trend, the free market (bless its little heart) does not live by that same rule.

Via NPR.

Good news from Turtle Survival Alliance.

Progress from one of my favorite conservation charities, the Turtle Survival Alliance. They help save rare turtles through working with governments and property owners. Very well designed system with many successes. 

Great news from Burma! It is the first captive hatching of the Arakan Forest Turtle at the Rakhine Turtle Center in Gwa. Built with funding support from the TSA, and managed in cooperation with the Myanmar Forest Department and Wildlife Conservation Society, this represents the first captive breeding for this critically endangered turtle in Myanmar. The species has been reproduced previously in the US and Europe.

Biologists take note.


Students Experience a “Day in the Desert”
On April 4, teachers and fifty-eight 7th graders from Sunrise Ridge Intermediate School traded their brick and mortar classrooms for the vibrant landscape of southern Utah. The Red Cliffs National Conservation Area (NCA) was one of the chosen venues for the “Day in the Desert” event, sponsored by the Washington County School District, which allows middle school students to participate in “hands on” activities.
In the Red Cliffs Recreation Area, located within the NCA, specialists from the BLM Saint George Field Office, Washington County Administrators Office, and Southern Utah National Conservation Lands Friends (SUNCLF) group instructed students on ecological and cultural resources with curriculum-based workshops. They educated students about the life histories and adaptive mechanisms of native Mojave Desert species, like the desert tortoise and Gila monster; sampled and tested water quality in Quail Creek, and tried their hand at flint-knapping.
They also identified native plants that were used as foods, medicines, or fiber sources by Native Americans and Anglo-European settlers, and visited the mid-19th century Orson B. Adams farmstead.
At the end of the day, “Day in the Desert” was a success with the children excitedly chatting about their experience on Public Lands as they marched back to the school bus.

-Story by Iris Picat; Photos by Iris Picat and Melissa Buchman

MyPublicLands is such a great tumblr to follow - it’s run by the Bureau of Land Management! And check out that old-timer desert tortoise!!

Thank you, Greg Melander. What a starkly beautiful reminder of our responsibilities.



In an ode to Eric Good’s efforts to save the turtles of Madagascar, I painted a replica turtle shell to look like a real one. We can appreciate nature without killing these beautiful animals.

New York hotelier, Eric Goode, was featured on “60 Minutes” to discuss his non-profit, The Turtle Conservancy. The organization works to conserve turtles and tortoises endangered by aggressive development, poverty, and illegal trade to China.


"A butterfly perches on the head of an Amazon River Turtle. Photographer Nate Chappell spotted the cheeky insect hitching a ride near the Amazon River in Ecuador. He explains: "I was standing in the open air lounge at Sani Lodge ecolodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle when I noticed a butterfly perched on the head of this Amazon River Turtle. I scrambled down to the river bank to try and photograph it. At first the butterfly flitted off as I startled it but it soon returned to sit on the turtle’s head. The butterfly is of the genus Oleria and it’s believed that the butterflies take salts and minerals from the head and eyes of the turtles. The turtles let this go on, so they probably get some benefit from it as well.""

Fun slideshow. And no waiting for each page to load, so it’s fast.

Asker portugalstew Asks:
I wonder if one factor contributing to people being shitty to turtles is the fact that the study took place in South Carolina. Having lived here almost my entire life, I can safely confirm that South Carolinians are über shitty. I was in the car with some guy who actually fussed that a road construction crew placed a light tar paper partition between the fresh asphalt and a drainage ditch, because "those stupid liberals want to save the fish or some bullshit".
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hi portugalstew!

You’re referring to this post on driving over turtles, one of my favorite animals. And one of my favorite conservation charities is the Turtle Survival Alliance (they have a great 2013 calender in their shop!).

I feel you! Sadly it happens up here, too. Every once in a while, some kids are caught blowing up snapping turtles with fire crackers.

Actually, there are simple and cheap ways you can help turtles cross: just ask your mayor or town council to make a turtle crossing. Send a passionate email or write a letter (just friggin do it). Probably takes less time to do than read this tumblr post!


There are two basic designs - a sign (this one is in Maine), which is cheap and doesn’t piss off tax payers. Or a tunnel under a road, which is expensive and really, really pisses off tax payers (it’s turtles vs new teachers/police/road repairs! Aah!).

I suggest adding a fine for any driver caught intentionally swerving to kill an animal. Hard to enforce and catch people, so a very high fine could act as a deterrent rather than a revenue generator for the municipality.

Here’s an example of an “EcoPassage” in Florida designed for turtle and critters to pass without getting crushed. Warning, there are some gnarly pictures…

And Here’s a study on a turtle tunnel project in Toronto, Canada.

Thanks for the note!