Newsletter of the Turtle Conservancy.

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Turtle Conservancy

December 31, 2015

Dear Supporter,

This has been an incredibly busy year for the Turtle Conservancy! While we may have accomplished a great deal, we could not have done it without you. We’re overwhelmed by the generosity you’ve shown us throughout the year and by the groundswell of support that rose up time and time again, helping us make an impact in turtle conservation and empowering us to serve as the eyes and ears of turtles and tortoises in trouble around the world.
We hope you will take a moment to read about our achievements over the past year and join us in celebrating our victories, both large and small. We depend on your donations and your commitment to our vision, a world where all species of turtles and tortoises thrive in their natural habitats.

Thank you for your interest and support!
The Turtle Conservancy Family

Field Programs, Habitat Preservation, and Conservation

Saving the last Geometric Tortoises from extinction

Less than 1,000 of these beautiful tortoises remain on earth
Earlier this year, the Turtle Conservancy purchased some of the last remaining habitat for the Critically Endangered Geometric Tortoise in South Africa. We recently reached an agreement for the purchase of another parcel of land that will expand our preserve to nearly 1,000 acres! The Geometric Tortoise Preserve is the last line of defense for the protection of this nearly extinct tortoise and its native fynbos habitat.

Ploughshare Tortoise

Saving the rarest tortoise in the world
Along with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, we continue to make progress in our mission to protect Ploughshare Tortoises. In July the TC (Eric Goode) attended the fourth International Angonoka Working Group (IAWG) meeting in Madagascar to update the global approach to protecting the Ploughshare from extinction. This year the TC was chosen to receive ten confiscated Ploughshare Tortoises, which were sent from Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden in Hong Kong to our conservation center in California.

Western Pond Turtle

Protecting a threatened turtle in our own backyard
California is still in the grip of the worst drought in a hundred years, and much of the state’s wildlife continues to suffer due to the extreme weather. In a highly coordinated effort involving state and federal agencies, the Turtle Conservancy, in collaboration with Bradley Shaffer of UCLA, rescued some 60 Western Pond Turtles last year and successfully returned them to the wild in May of this year.

Bolson Tortoise

Securing the last stronghold for the species
The Turtle Conservancy continues its work protecting a significant portion of the last remaining habitat of the Bolson Tortoise in the Chihuahuan Desert of Mexico. Currently we are in negotiations to purchase a large parcel of this desert for the protection of the tortoise and the remarkably diverse habitat it depends on for survival.

TC’s Captive Assurance Colonies and Breeding Programs

Behler Chelonian Center

Our conservation center breeds more endangered turtles and tortoises than any other institution in the world. We manage 15 of the world’s 40 most endangered turtle species, including the Ploughshare Tortoise, which is nearly extinct in the wild. On average, our center has produced 121 hatchlings per year since 2005. Thank you to all of the volunteers and interns who provided critical support throughout the year. Volunteers: Ursula Britton, Talisa Garcia, Eleanor Kas, Dennis Ryan, Harley Wallace, Celine Legey-Salisian, James Logan, Tea Wallmark. Interns: Molly Schlichenmeyer, Samantha Walsh, Katie Schachtsick, Bradley Weinstein, Stephen Mirkin, Hayley Milner, Andrew Hilfinger, Billy Tu, Rachel Rudin, Jonathan LeRoy.

Protecting the Golden Coin Turtle

One of the top 25 most endangered turtles in the world
Our Golden Coin Turtle program is the first ever to send endangered captive-bred turtles back to their native range country in the name of conservation. This year we hatched another eight, which will be sent to Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, our partner in Hong Kong, for eventual reintroduction to the wild.

Burmese Star Tortoise

Functionally extinct in the wild
The Turtle Conservancy breeds more Burmese Star Tortoises than any other institution outside of Myanmar. This year we intensified our efforts to protect this ecologically extinct species.

Trade Monitoring and Interdiction

Through the Turtle Conservancy’s support, the wildlife trade-monitoring network TRAFFIC was able to allocate more resources for the illegal turtle and tortoise trade in Southeast Asia. In the coming year, we will continue our commitment to help TRAFFIC put a stop to the illegal trade in Southeast Asia and beyond.
Palawan Forest Turtle Rescue Effort - Thank You
Click on the image above to watch the video.

Philippine Forest Turtle Crisis

On June 17, nearly 4,000 Philippine Forest Turtles were confiscated on Palawan Island in the Philippines. It was the largest confiscation of Critically Endangered turtles to date. Volunteers from around the world, including the Turtle Conservancy’s Dr. Paul Gibbons and Dr. James Liu, descended upon Palawan to help save these turtles and return them to the wild. Thanks to their tireless efforts, 89% of the confiscated turtles were returned to the wild. THANK YOU to everyone who supported our crisis-relief efforts in the Philippines. We could not have achieved this success without you!

Global Awareness and Education

With the hope of inspiring a global groundswell of conservation action to save the world’s turtles and tortoises, the Turtle Conservancy uses media and education in its ongoing Turtles in Crisis awareness campaign. Since its inception in 2005, many millions of people have heard our message. Our campaign uses a comprehensive approach through all media, including film, public service announcements, public events, social media, public school systems, and our annual magazine, The Tortoise.

Buy your copy of The Tortoise today, while supplies last.


Buy Now

Annual Turtle Ball

Our annual Turtle Ball in NYC brings together scientists, artists, celebrities, and the media who all come out to show their support of the Turtle Conservancy’s global work and to raise important funds for the cause. This year Fisher Stevens and Griffen Dunne were the evening’s hosts and masters of ceremonies. We honored Robert F. Kennedy Jr. with the TC’s Conservation Achievement Award. Critical funds were raised through the art auction, which included works by Walton Ford, Richard Prince, Julian Schnabel, Kenny Scharf, Tom Sachs, and Christopher Wool. Thank you to all who attended, donated art, and participated in the event.

Become a Member Today!

Turtles witnessed the dramatic end of the age of dinosaurs, but now they are facing their own extinction crisis. Join the Turtle Conservancy today and help us in our mission to protect threatened turtles and tortoises and their habitats worldwide. Click below for our donation levels and the many benefits you’ll enjoy as a member of the TC.
Become a Member

Thank you for helping us accomplish these many victories in 2015. Just think of what we can do next year!
Your support is absolutely critical in keeping our momentum going.


Collaboration is key to our success, and we would like to thank our global partners:

Rainforest Trust, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden, Cape Nature, Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, Michael Zilkha, The Surprise Spring Foundation, Frankel Family Foundation, Patagonia, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Conservation International, Global Wildlife Conservation, INECOL, CONANP, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, USGS, Chelonian Research Institute, Chelonian Research Foundation, Chelonia Enterprises, The Orianne Society, Recanati-Kaplan Foundation, WWF, IUCN, La Mer, Virgin Limited Edition, Turtle Conservation Fund, Katala Foundation, Oceanic Preservation Society, Wildlife Conservation Society, Fauna & Flora International, S.O.P.T.O.M., The Desert Tortoise Council, Yale University, Kendall Conrad Design, Vanity Fair, Absolut Elyx, One Percent for the Planet, Endangered Species Coalition, Partners in Anphibian and Reptile Conservation, Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, Turtle Survival Alliance, Association of Zoos & Aquariums, San Antonio Zoo, Honolulu Zoo, Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Garden, UC Santa Cruz, San Diego Zoo Global, Atlanta Zoo, Santa Barbara Zoo, Saint Louis Zoo, Memphis Zoo, Tennessee Aquarium, Taipei Zoo, Fondation Segré, Allwetterzoo Munster, Parley for the Oceans, Rotterdam Zoo, Madagascar National Parks, Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership, UCLA, Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga, Tartarugas da Amizonia, Instituto de Ecologia A.C., Paso Pacifico, Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, and many more.
To keep the Turtle Conservancy's conservation programs going, please click here and make a gift
Turtle Conservancy, 49 Bleecker Street, Suite 601, New York, NY 10012, Telephone: 212-353-5060,

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