On May 23rd, turtle and tortoise enthusiasts worldwide gather to celebrate the International World Turtle Day®, an event created by the American Tortoise Rescue (ATR). Established in 1990, ATR is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting all species of turtles and tortoises. The celebration aims to increase respect for and knowledge about one of the world’s oldest creatures through educational events, parties, fundraisers, and social media engagement.
Susan Tellem, RN, BSN, executive director of the ATR sanctuary, co-founded the organization with her husband Marshall Thompson. They have since rescued and rehomed thousands of turtles and tortoises while providing education to turtle lovers across the globe.
World Turtle Day showcases these incredible creatures’ unique characteristics as they can live for more than a century while displaying humor, affection, and distinct personalities. However, despite having survived over 200 million years on Earth, turtles face numerous threats such as smuggling, habitat destruction, cruel pet trade practices, and live exotic food markets. Currently, approximately 61% of turtle species are considered threatened or already extinct.
Education plays a vital role in addressing these challenges across all countries globally. Ideally suited to life in the wild when given a safe environment where they can thrive alongside their natural companions in searching for food and procreating; unfortunately many fall victim to ill-suited captivity conditions due to misconceptions about their care needs.
Thankfully there are now many sanctuaries available that provide homes where these gentle beings can live long lives safely. Joining others in celebrating World Turtle Day offers a way for people everywhere to highlight conservation efforts dedicated to preserving these remarkable animals.
By following @WorldTurtleDay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram everyone can find fun tips on how best enjoy this special day together. Through sharing love for these beautiful creatures on social media, everyone can make a positive impact on our planet’s turtle population every day of the year.
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