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World Turtle Day reminds people to protect turtles and tortoises

Posted May 23 2010 12:49pm

World Turtle Day, May 23, 2010

World Turtle Day was established in 2000 as a way to let celebrate one of the oldest creatures on earth.

The American Tortoise Rescue points out that experts predict turtles and tortoises could be gone within 50 years, which means we need to do all we can to help them. They offer these tips to help save these animals:

  • 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 off shore drilling that can lead to more endangered sea turtle deaths.
  • Report cruelty or illegal sales of turtles and tortoises to your local animal control shelter.
  • Report the sale of any turtle or tortoise of any kind less than four inches.  This is illegal everywhere in the U.S.

As if turtles and tortoises don’t have enough to deal with from humans, the recent BP oil spill hasn’t helped them or other wildlife. It appears that turtles, tortoises, and others are dying as a result of their habitat being polluted by the oil.

At least 150 sea turtles have washed up dead or dying along the U.S. Gulf Coast since the giant oil spill off Louisiana, a higher number than normal for this time of year, a leading wildlife expert said on Monday.

[...]

This is a time of year when dead or debilitated turtles would normally begin to show up with greater frequency, but the 156 found since April 30 along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida “are in higher numbers than you would expect,” Ziccardi said.

None of the animals had obvious signs of oil contamination. But, because of their proximity to the spill, they are being treated as possible victims of the crude oil that has been gushing from the ruptured wellhead since April 20, he said.

See the rest of the story from Reuters: Turtle deaths running high since oil spill: expert

The box turtle above wandered into my yard last week. I don’t know much at all about turtles, and wasn’t sure what to do with her. Thankfully, with advice from Jeff over at at Kingsnake.com , I relocated her to a nearby wooded area. That’s probably where she came from, although I have no idea how she found her way to my yard.

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