Recent Hatchlings

Recent Hatchlings

This past month saw some unique species hatch at our Conservation Center. Two Oaxaca Wood Turtles, a species from southwestern Mexico, hatched naturally inside of their enclosure. And three Ryukyu Black-breasted Leaf Turtles, a small forest dwelling species found on the southern Japanese Islands of Okinawa, Kumejima and Tokashiki, joined our population of turtles and tortoises living within our temperate greenhouse.

Turtle Trafficking in the US

Turtle Trafficking in the US

In Florida, hundreds of native turtles have been confiscated from poachers who had been documented collecting and trading over 4,000 wild turtles for six months. Fortunately, over 600 of these were returned to the wild—a rare outcome of cases like these…

Rewilding a Missing Tortoise in Argentina

Rewilding a Missing Tortoise in Argentina

This past month, we had the good fortune to be hosted by Tompkins Conservation at two of the national parks they have created. Doug and Kris Tompkins donated over 14 million acres of land to create national parks in Chile and Argentina, to combat climate change and help restore lost biodiversity in the region. One of their core missions is rewilding populations of species that were wiped out by humans through agriculture, development and hunting. Their team invited us to help them explore the rewilding of a popular tortoise species in a largely unstudied part of its range…

Ojai Day 2019

Ojai Day 2019

On October 19th, the Turtle Conservancy team joined with the community of Ojai to celebrate one of its most historic days, Ojai Day. Originally founded as Nordhoff in 1874, the city was renamed Ojai and was re-developed by Edward Drummond Libbey. Ojai Day traces its origins back to 1917, when the citizens held a celebration in honor of Libbey’s contribution to the construction of the new Spanish-inspired architecture that is still admired today…

Discovering the Fernandina Giant Tortoise

Discovering the Fernandina Giant Tortoise

On October 23rd, Animal Planet launched the second season of the television series Extinct or Alive with the long-awaited episode featuring the promising rediscovery of the Fernandina Giant Tortoise (Chelonoidis phantasticus)…

Marching Against Climate Change

Marching Against Climate Change

On September 20th, The Turtle Conservancy joined local demonstrations in California, Washington DC, Berlin and New York City to participate in the Global Climate Strikes—a worldwide mobilization of an estimated four million people in over 160 countries. The youth-led demonstrations aimed to call out governments for their lack of urgency in addressing the climate crisis—and to cultivate a movement demanding an equitable transition to renewable energy...

News from our Rescue Center in New Jersey

News from our Rescue Center in New Jersey

An enthusiastic team of volunteers got together at our rescue center in New Jersey last weekend to help us search for, count, and medically assess turtles rescued from the illegal pet trade before they enter hibernation with the onset of the cold season. The work ahead of this inventory exercise seemed monumental in the face of unseasonable 90° weather.


The majority of the animals living at the center come from confiscations from smugglers trying to export native U.S. species of turtles, including Wood Turtles (Glyptemys insculpta), Box Turtles (Terrapene spp.) and Spotted Turtles (Clemmys guttata). The center is also home to animals confiscated from illegal pet ownership.Maurice Rodrigues, one of the founders of the Turtle Conservancy and an active conservationist, runs the center which provides a caring home for all these confiscated animals…

Species Highlight

Species Highlight

The Roti Island Snake-necked Turtle (Chelodina mccordi) is a special species here at the Turtle Conservancy as it was described in 1994 by Turtle Conservancy Board Chairman, Anders Rhodin. The unique species belongs to the family Chelidae and the suborder Pleurodira. Unlike their counterpart the Cryptodirans, Pleurodirans have the interesting trait of not being able to tuck their head and neck inside their shells. Instead, the turtles of this family withdraw their typically extremely long necks along the side of their body.

Terrapin Nesting Project

Terrapin Nesting Project

From late May to early October, TNP founder Kathy Lacey jumps into her car every single Wednesday morning at 4:00 am and drives 82 miles from Philadelphia to her native Long Beach Island where she will stay three days checking on terrapin nests, caring for hatchings and helping release them into the sheltered bay area.

Notes from the CITES Conference of Parties

Notes from the CITES Conference of Parties

This month, the 18thmeeting of the Conference of Parties (CoP) occurred in Geneva, Switzerland. Held every three years, the CoP is when countries make legally-binding decisions to improve regulations on international wildlife trade, based on preparation work that occurred in the preceding years.

Amazon Rainforest Fires

Amazon Rainforest Fires

Fire has devastated more than 3,500 square miles of Brazil’s Amazon forest since January, an 85% increase from last year. The fires were largely intentionally set by humans engaged in rampant, illegal deforestation of the Amazon for agriculture, specifically for cattle ranching, as the global demand for meat is on the rise. This devastation has staggering consequences, from the destruction of local wildlife and wildlands to the global health of our planet.

A Not So Transparent Act

A Not So Transparent Act

In our July 2018 blog, we highlighted potential implications to numerous threatened and endangered species in connection with proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) by the current U.S. Presidential Administration. These proposed changes came into effect on August 19, 2019 in the name of "increasing transparency and effectiveness" and were touted by some members of the Department of the Interior as bringing the ESA into the 21st century with a more "effective, consistent and clear interpretation." Superficially, these changes may appear to improve methods for conservation and protection of wildlife in the United States, however in practice, they will substantially erode protections for our nation’s threatened and endangered species.

18,850 Acres of Critical Wildlife Habitat Secured in Northern Mexico!

18,850 Acres of Critical Wildlife Habitat Secured in Northern Mexico!

The Turtle Conservancy, HABIO A.C., Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC), and Rainforest Trust partnered on a deal to purchase an 18,850-acre former cattle ranch in Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert, which will be converted into a desert-grassland wildlife refuge. Endemic lizards, critically-endangered Bolson tortoises, migratory birds, and a variety of resident mammals are among the many species of animals set to benefit from the preservation of this biodiverse landscape, showing again how saving turtles can save the planet.

This habitat bolsters the land the Turtle Conservancy and partners protect for wildlife in the region to 62,439 acres, nearly 4 ½ times the size of Manhattan!

The Tortoise Magazine Issue 8 Release

The Tortoise Magazine Issue 8 Release

The 8th (GIANT) issue of The Tortoise is here! This year’s magazine spotlights the giant tortoises of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, punctuated by a spectacular achievement in turtle conservation in 2019—the rediscovery of a tortoise on Fernandina Island in the Galápagos…

TC Joins Aussie Ark

TC Joins Aussie Ark

On the northern coast of New South Wales, the Manning River Sawshelled Turtle paddles secretively amongst the platypuses. The species is so rarely seen it was declared “Endangered” by the Australian government in 2017. It is one of the regions three endemic turtles, along with the Bellinger River Snapping Turtle and Bell's Sawshelled Turtle, all of which are Endangered and which are found nowhere else on Earth...

Conservation Center Updates

Conservation Center Updates

The tortoises of the genus Manouriaare the oldest forms of tortoises living today. These living dinosaurs include the Asian Giant Tortoises and the Impressed Tortoise. The Turtle Conservancy manages both of these species at our southern California Conservation Center, and this past month we were very excited to get large clutches of eggs from our tortoises...

Conservation Drones Oil Eggs

In the fight to save the Mojave Desert Tortoise from extinction, drone technology is being deployed throughout their range to help control exploding raven populations. Click the button below to read Louis Sahagun’s LA Times article on the cutting-edge of conservation biology.

In Search of the Ryukyu Black-Breasted Leaf Turtle

In Search of the Ryukyu Black-Breasted Leaf Turtle

Last May, a Turtle Conservancy team went into the field in southern Japan to observe the Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica). This small turtle is endemic to the Ryukyu archipelago, and was designated as a natural monument by the prefecture of Okinawa in 1973…

Spring Fundraising Campaign

Spring Fundraising Campaign

On May 23rd, the Turtle Conservancy celebrated World Turtle Day by launching a public awareness and fundraising campaign inspired by the recent UN report on global biodiversity. The report argued that one million of Earth’s species are at risk of extinction due to human-caused activities. The Turtle Conservancy is working to protect biodiversity through habitat conservation, research and global awareness…