"Turtles have been around since before many dinosaurs walked the planet and have survived relatively unchanged for about 250 million years," said CI President Russell Mittermeier. "But mankind's actions have brought them to the brink of extinction. It's our responsibility to bring them back." CI believes that effective protection of these 11 hotspots will go a long way towards increasing the survival of 21 of the most endangered turtles.
In order to implement their five-year Global Action Plan, the TCF intends to raise an estimated $5.6 million. Plans include captive breeding (using trade-confiscated turtles), additional field research, development of country support for trade monitoring, illegal trade confiscations, establishment of rescue centers, sustainable harvest programs, ecologically sound turtle farming (for commercial purposes to lessen pressures on wild populations), relocation and return to countries of origin, public outreach and educational programs, trade regulation enforcement, and identification and establishment of protected areas that take tortoises and freshwater turtles into consideration.
"While the Turtle Conservation Fund plan offers a glimmer of hope to some of the world's most endangered turtles; for some, it is already too late," said Rick Hudson, co-chair of the IUCN Turtle Survival Alliance, and a member of the Steering Committee of the TFTSG. "Unless urgent conservation action is taken, many more species may go the way of 'Lonesome George'," he said, referring to the famous sole surviving Galapagos Abingdon Island tortoise. As the last of his species, George's fate is sealed. He is destined to remain a bachelor for the rest of his
Contact: Pamela Moyer