Turtle Conservancy Info

Peter Pritchard, Ph.D.


Peter is known throughout the world as the “Ulimate Authority” on the biology and conservation of turtles and tortoises. Peter received his B.A. and M.A. in biochemistry and chemistry from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Florida, studying under the legendary Dr. Archie Carr.

The course of his career, Peter has written seven books: Living Turtles of the World (1967), Marine Turtles of Micronesia (1977), Encyclopedia of Turtles (1979), Turtles of Venezuela (1984), The Alligator Snapping Turtle (1990, 2006), Galapagos Tortoises: Nomenclatural and Survival Status (1996), Cleopatra the Turtle Girl (2006), Tales from the Thébaide (2007), and most recently Rafetus: The Curve of Extinction (2012). He also translated Encyclopedia of Turtles by Bonin, Devaux and Dupré from the French for Johns Hopkins (2007). In 1998 he wrote the preface for a reprint of John Van Denburgh’s celebrated 1914 monograph on the Galapagos Tortoises. He also authored “Saving What’s Left,” a manual on saving environmentally endangered lands in Florida that has been widely acclaimed by conservationists, legislators and lobbyists alike.

In addition, Peter has done extensive field work with turtles on all continents and many remote islands. He has also established a permanent field station for turtle conservation in Northwestern Guyana. Three species of turtle are named after him, a snake-necked turtle from New Guinea, a pond turtle from northern Myanmar, and a giant fossil side-neck turtle from Colombia.

Since 1998, Peter has been directing the Chelonian Research Institute. The institute houses over 13,000 specimens and is the most comprehensive collection of chelonians in existence, with 100% of genera and about 95% of living species being represented. The many honors that Peter has received during include being recognized as a “Champion of the Wild” by the Discovery Television Channel, as a “Hero of the Planet” by TIME Magazine and as 2001’s “Floridian of the Year” by the Orlando Sentinel newspaper.