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World Turtle Day

Better late than never

My mind is continously wrapped around chocolate and species conservation.  It’s my job and I love it.  And you’d THINK that I’d be totally keyed in to all the conservation-minded holidays out there – but they always sneak up on me.  Usually, I become aware of these obscure  observances the day after the fact.  Like World Water Day (March 22) and International Migratory Bird Day (May 14).  And wouldn’t you know it – World Turtle Day was May 23rd.  I’ve given up too many good writing ideas for fear of being untimely.  Watch me now as I bravely and belatedly post about World Turtle Day!

Soft spot for hard-shelled creatures

Turtles and tortoises have been around for more than 200 million years.  They obviously are creatures that are meant to stand the test of time.  However, over the past 20 years, almost 50% of all turtle species have been listed as threatened.  And six out of seven species of sea turtles are threatened or endangered.  Since learning these deporable facts, I aim to seek out ways to help.

SEE Turtles saves sea turtles

Combining conservation tourism and volunteerism, SEE Turtles works in Costa Rica, Baja California Sur and Trinidad – vital nessting habitats for endangered sea turtles – to support community-based turtle protection efforts.

You can get involved in a small, meaningful way by purchasing Endangered Species Chocolate’s Save the Sea Turtle Gift Pack.  Or you can go big and plan an adventure vacation with SEE Turtles and have a hands on sea turtle saving experience!

Be aware of baby turtles

The U.S. Humane Society urges people to beware of fairs, carnivals, flea markets and pet shops that sell baby turtles.  In 1975, FDA’s Public Health and Services Act banned the sale/distribution of turtles less than four inches in length.  Despite the ban, baby turtles continue to be sold – an illegal practice that is destructive to both turtles and humans.  A practice I recently witnessed at a tourist shop while on a beach getaway weekend.  You can bet when I return to the beach this month, I am going to be asking the store owner some hard questions and reporting them.  Click here to learn how to report these types of violations to the FDA.

Many turtle species are declining due to the pet trade.  Children often lose interest in pet animals obtained on impulse and parents may not be prepared to care for a turtle who can live for decades and grow to be a foot long.  Turtles need proper light and temperature, a water filtration system and room to grow.  Countless pet turtles die from being kept in inadequate conditions.

Humans, especially young children, are also put at risk by close contact with pet turtles.  A major Salmonella outbreak in 2007 that sickened 107 people (mostly children) in 37 states was attributed to pet turtles.

World Turtle Day

May is a busy time for turtles (yes, yes…I know it is now JUNE!).  Many have recently emerged from winter hibernation and are beginning their search for mates and nesting areas.  May 23rd was designated World Turtle Day in 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue.  The day is used to highlight the threats to turtles’ survival and educate about what we can do to protect these quiet creatures.  Just like this post, caring and spreading the word is better late than never.

Share your turtle stories!  Join me in celebrating a belated World Turtle Day by commenting below.

1 Comment to “World Turtle Day”

  • Monica Erskine

    Speaking of sharing turtle stories, check out “TORTOISE BLOG” for a concentrated collection of turtle tales gathered from around the web – http://tortoiseblog.com/.

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