Behler Chelonian Center
The Turtle Conservancy's Behler Chelonian Center (BCC) is the premiere facility for breeding Critically Endangered turtles and tortoises in the world. Our conservation breeding program now includes 32 species of turtles and tortoises, 12 of which are on the "Top 40 Most Endangered" list, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group.
Over the past 10 years, the BCC has supported researchers, ecologists, conservationists, naturalists, students, and artists. Many of the world's leading authorities on turtles and tortoises have spent time on the campus learning about the husbandry, genetics, and natural history of these incredible animals. Many influential artists and wildlife photographers have also engaged with our collection to help promote chelonian conservation. Similarly, students from all over the world have been funded or sponsored by the Turtle Conservancy to spend time at the BCC to participate in ex situ turtle and tortoise conservation.
Global Assurance Colonies
The BCC is laying the foundation for assurances colonies all across the globe. Many of the species we hatch out cannot be returned to the wild due to political unrest, concerns over habitat destruction, and the ever constant threat of poaching.
By partnering with individuals and organizations, we have begun sending new generations of turtles and tortoises to other semi-wild facilities. This is done to establish additional assurance colonies in case disease, environmental disaster, or poaching should compromise one of the existing populations in the wild or captivity. So far we have experienced amazing success with our partners, including Kadoorie Farms (Hong Kong) and Necker Island (Caribbean). We are looking to expand these assurance colonies to include more species due to the extraordinary reproductive success of our current collection.
The BCC prides itself on its participation in ex situ conservation. We are constantly looking to improve husbandry techniques and reproduction through thoughtful care and new technologies. Often, this is coupled with data we gather from field sites in our animals' natural range.
Currently, the BCC is engaged in several studies, parterning with local universities, zoos, and our global wildlife partners.
Interns and Volunteers
The Turtle Conservancy welcomes a small number of undergraduate, graduate, and veterinary interns each year. Ideally, applicants show strong interest in animal ecology, behavior, genetics, or exotic animal medicine. We request a minimum of a 4-week internship, with the expectation our interns complete a research project and present it in their last week. On campus housing is sometimes available at moderate cost to our interns.
Interested individuals should submit their CV and a cover letter expressing their area of interest in the Turtle Conservancy. These may be submitted to Dr. Paul Gibbons at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Turtle Conservancy occasionally has a limited number of turtles and tortoises that are surplus to the North American Regional Studbook and Turtle Conservancy conservation programming for their species. These may include Radiated Tortoises, Burmese Star Tortoises, Indian Spotted Turtles, Burmese Black Mountain Tortoises, and others. Suitably qualified individuals and institutions are invited to apply to make adoption arrangements. Certain adoption guidelines do apply. All proceeds from adoptions directly support our conservation enhancement initiatives in the natural range of these endangered species.