March brought about the delivery of some very special guests to New York City... Diamondback Terrapins!
On February 21, some 40 wildlife conservation leaders and specialists representing 22 American and Mexican non-governmental organizations, were gathered during the 44th Annual Symposium of the Desert Tortoise Council, in Tucson, Arizona, to celebrate recent successes and to accelerate protection of transboundary wildlife corridors, with a focus on supporting private lands conservation on the U.S.-Mexico borderlands…
Volunteering in the greenhouse habitat, several Mount Olive High School students care for the animals, learn skills in the field of biology and ecology, and participate in a rehabilitation program for the animals. The students are currently helping rehabilitate several turtles for the Turtle Conservancy, an organization that helps protect over 300 species of endangered turtles throughout the world. These turtles will be returned to the care of Maurice Rodrigues in May, one of the founders of the program…
The Coahuilan box turtle is a small aquatic species of Box turtle which lives in Mexico, specifically in the Cuatro Ciénegas basin of central Coahuila. This species is the most aquatic turtle of the genus Terrapene.
This turtle inhabits permanent and seasonal ponds and wetlands and depends a lot on this sensitive habitat, and appreciates being buried in the mud of the ponds where they live. Nevertheless, it is less aquatic than the sympatric species which live in Cuatro Ciénegas, such as the sliders (Trachemys taylori) and the softshell turtles (Apalone spinifera atra). The high salinity of the water gives a white appearance to the shell when the salt dries. The Coahuilan box turtle is mostly omnivorous and mainly feeds on plants and insects.
Unfortunately this species of turtle is threatened for few reasons. First, habitat loss seems to be the main issue. Indeed human activities linked to the exploitation of water such as canals and groundwater pumping are leading the shallow pond to drying up. Agriculture is being developed in the area and request a lot of water. Terrapene coahuila is currently considered as endangered by the IUCN. Illegal collection for the pet trade may has occurred in the past since wild caught animals are present in private collections.
Studbook exist in Europe and in the United States for this species which is bred quite well in captivity.
We participated to few surveys the last few years and we noticed by ourselves by what the turtles are threatened. The situation of this Box Turtle in the wild must be followed up from close. The Mexican government declared 84,347 hectares of the Cuatro Ciénegas as a protected area but further conservation initiatives must be taken in the next years to protect the habitat of the turtle.
In mid-February, Turtle Conservancy staff convened at our southern California Conservation Center for strategic planning to discuss the organization's future goals and implementation strategies. The three days of meetings allowed for in-depth conversations that will help guide us through the next three years.
On February 21st, the Border States Conservation Collaborative, a binational group of organizations, met in Tucson, Arizona to explore ways to work together to support our collective and individual conservation goals. The Collaborative discussed proposed border wall construction and the significant implications for wildlife corridors in northwestern Mexico and southwestern United States.
This was the second meeting of this newly formed group that includes Arizona Department of Fish & Game, Borderlands Restoration, Cuenca Los Ojos Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife, Desert Tortoise Council, Diamond A Ranch Animas Foundation, Fondo Mexicano Para La Conservación de la Naturaleza, Global Wildlife Conservation, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Malpais Borderlands Group, Nature and Culture International, Northern Jaguar Project, Rancho El Aribabi, Sky Island Alliance, Sonoran Joint Venture, The Nature Conservancy, Turner Endangered Species Fund, Turtle Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango, University of Queretaro, and Wildlands Network.
The Turtle Conservancy is eligible to be rated by Charity Navigator, the gold standard in evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of non-profit organizations in the U.S. And we need your help to expedite this process — we invite you to VOTE NOW to request to have the TC analyzed by the Charity Navigator Team!
Turtle Conservancy partner, Paso Pacifico, is making an impact on the populations of sea turtles living along the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. Back in August 2018, the TC ran a fundraiser called "Save the Leatherback Sea Turtle" which many of you responded to. Those funds are now supporting Paso Pacifico's work hiring local rangers, building leatherback sea turtle hatcheries, and patrolling beaches for nesting females. Community members in this program have successfully protected 8 leatherback nests! In addition, 3 hawksbill turtle nests and over 50 green turtle and 200 olive ridley turtle nests were protected!
The Turtle Conservancy sent a delegation to Hanoi, Vietnam this past month in an effort to build strategic partnerships in the region and to develop a standardized method for evaluating the field status of tropical turtles and tortoises, which would. The group was invited by the Turtle Sanctuary, a new organization in Vietnam led by Benjamin LePrince, Luca Luiselli, Thong Pham Van, Olivier Le Duc, and Cedric Bordes.
TC board member, Dr. Russell Mittermeier, and TC veterinarian Dr. James Liu went to the Galapagos Islands this past month, taking donors on a trip of a lifetime. In partnership with Lindblad Expeditions, the two took travelers through 6 islands, exploring the evolutionary wonders of the tortoises, birds, and more...
The Turtle Conservancy continues to assist the US Fish and Wildlife Service in triage management of confiscated turtles and tortoises from the illegal wildlife trade. In total, the Turtle Conservancy has taken in over 100 animals in 2018. The majority of which are U.S. species being exported to Asia…