- Why turtles?
- What does the TSA do for turtles?
- There seem to be a lot of groups out there that are trying to save turtles. Why should I support the TSA?
- How does the TSA determine the countries where they work?
- Where do I log in to renew my membership?
- How do I update my contact info?
- How do I know when my membership expires?
- How can I keep current on TSA conservation news and activities?
- Does the TSA own turtles?
- I heard that I can get turtles from the TSA, is that true?
- Why does the TSA own and manage animals?
- How does the TSA decide what species to manage?
With a family tree that is 300 million years old, turtles have roamed the earth virtually unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs. Unfortunately, these remarkable reptiles are now facing extinction. Within the next 20 years, as many as one-third of the world‘s 300 species of tortoises and freshwater turtles may be gone due to poaching for the international black market. At least ten species are now extinct in the wild and exist only in captive breeding programs. Turtles play a critical ecological role in the environments in which they occur. For example, freshwater turtles help control aquatic vegetation, serve as scavengers and help maintain rivers and lakes in a healthy condition. In addition, turtles occupy a significant role in the cultures of many people around the world.
What does the TSA do for turtles?
The TSA focuses on critically endangered species and employs a two-pronged approach to prevent extinction and promote recovery. We work in range countries - especially those considered to be turtle diversity hotspots - to support field research and conservation programs while at the same time securing the species in captivity as a guard against extinction in the wild. The TSA also develops captive breeding programs outside the range countries as an extra measure of protection against extinction. Today, the TSA supports and manages recovery programs for endangered turtles and tortoises around the world. Our model is successful because of partnerships, and we believe strongly in building capacity for saving turtles in the countries where they live. We identify individuals and facilities that are already involved in turtle conservation and work to help them get better at what they do. Because in the end, the battle to save species will be won or lost in the countries where they live.
There seem to be a lot of groups out there that are trying to save turtles. Why should I support the TSA?
Several factors set TSA apart from other turtle conservation organizations. First, the TSA is action oriented and works proactively to develop conservation strategies for those species most in need. We identify species in need of assistance, put "boots on the ground" and start developing a program. Second, we respond rapidly when situations arise (trade confiscations for example) that demand urgent attention. Finally, the TSA believes in a strong programmatic approach. That is, we develop comprehensive, multi-species programs and commit to long-term funding support. For example, our India program has been underway for five years, targeting several turtle diversity hotspots with a program that includes poaching control, community education, nest protection, captive breeding and release.
How does the TSA determine the countries where they work?
The TSA works in countries where critically endangered species exist. For example, our work in the Philippines is focused on just one species. However we devote more resources to those countries considered turtle diversity hotspots, where a single program can protect multiple species. By looking at factors such as species richness (number of species), percent endemism (number that are found only in that country), and degree of endangerment, we can determine which countries are most important overall. In Asia, when all these factors are considered, the most important countries are China, Mynamar, Vietnam, Indonesia and India. Today the TSA has programs in three of these countries, and supports projects in the other two.
There is no longer a log in required to renew your membership online. Your username and password are no longer needed. To renew, simply click on "Join the TSA" and complete the membership form. There, you can indicate that you are renewing your membership, rather than joining as a new member. If you have your membership number (on your membership card) it's helpful, but not necessary.
Does the TSA own turtles?
Yes, the TSA currently owns and manages more than 2000 turtles and tortoises representing more than 50 species. Currently, these 2000+ animals reside with 93 private individuals, 33 zoos and aquariums and five educational institutions (i.e., universities and veterinary schools).
I heard that I can get turtles from the TSA, is that true?
Why does the TSA own and manage animals?
Captive breeding and ex situ conservation is a key component of the TSA's conservation strategy, especially for species ranked critically endangered. Many species are disappearing at such an alarming rate from the wild, that a captive assurance colony is a necessary layer of protection against extinction. In fact, ten species are now considered extinct in the wild and exist only in captivity! TSA holdings include hundreds of specimens of endangered and critically endangered species, as well as a substantial number of species of lesser concern. The goals for TSA's animal collection in 2010 and beyond is to both maximize the conservation potential of the animals that we hold and to begin returning offspring to their home countries.
How does the TSA decide what species to manage?
The TSA believes that captive populations should be developed for all turtle species ranked endangered or critically endangered. Some of these species have well-managed captive programs in the countries where they exist (Rafetus, for example); hence major ex situ programs are not a high priority. The species that emerge as high priorities for ex situ captive management are those that have no counterpart program in the range country, and that are ranked Critically Endangered, or appear to be headed in that direction. Species like the endemic Chinese box turtles (Cuora) and Indonesian endemics such as the Roti Island Snakeneck (Chelodina mccordi) and the Sulawesi Forest Turtle (Leucocephalon yuwonoi) are either extinct or seriously threatened in the wild. Underlying this is our belief that it is better to develop captive populations for species of concern before they reach the brink of extinction.
Ex situ Conservation - conservation that takes place outside of a species' native range. Captive breeding of Asian turtles in the United States is an example of ex situ conservation.
Headstarting - a conservation practice that involves raising hatchlings in captivity until they are large enough that they are less vulnerable to predation or other risks, at which time they are released
In situ Conservation - conservation that takes place in a species' range country or native habitat
Range Country - the country in which a species naturally occurs, or the location of its home range