World Turtle Day
Since 1990, the non-profit US organisation American Tortoise Rescue, also known as the ATR, has been committed to protecting all types of turtles. Today, 29 years after the ATR was founded, the interest in the conservation of turtles has spread worldwide.
With the motto 'Shellebration' (a combination of the words shell and celebration), people across the globe are made aware of the possible extinction of the turtles on World Turtle Day. On this day, many activists make themselves known by wearing turtle costumes or green outfits. In many schools, children and teens learn about the importance of turtles thanks to the help of the ATR. On this special day, they partake in many turtle craft projects as they discover the devastating conditions of the animals.
Turtles are dying
As reported by AP in April 2019, biologists and experts predict that over the next 50 years, turtles will become extinct. The reasons for this are illegal smuggling, the food industry, the destruction of habitats and climate change. Since 1990, ATR founders Susan Tellem and Marshall Thompson have been able to accommodate around 4,000 turtles in care facilities. The organisation is also committed to the prosecution of turtle smugglers.
What can you do?
If you would also like to do something to help rescue and preserve the turtles, Tortoise.com recommends the following:
1. Never buy a turtle in the pet store as it increases the demand.
2. Do not steal wild turtles, even if they are sick or injured.
3. If you ever come across a turtle crossing a busy road, pick it up and send it in the right direction, otherwise they will end up in the road again.
Note: Never put yourself or your fellow humans in danger whilst doing this!