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 (Terrapene coahuila) 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 species inhabits permanent and seasonal ponds and wetlands—a specific and sensitive habitat to which it is dependent. When not foraging, it selects to bury itself in the mud in or near the water bodies where it lives. Nevertheless, it is less aquatic than the sympatric species found in Cuatro Ciénegas; the Cuatro Cienegas Slider (Trachemys taylori) and the Cuatro Cienegas Softshell (Apalone spinifera atra). The high salinity of the water gives a white appearance to the Coahuilan box turtle’s shell when the water dries. The Coahuilan box turtle is mostly omnivorous, mainly feeding on plants and insects.
Unfortunately, this species faces many threats. The primary reason is habitat loss due to human hydrological activities—specifically those linked to the pumping of groundwater and increased diversion by canals. Agriculture and cattle ranching is also being developed in the area which requires a substantial amount of water. These combined activities have caused the shallow pond habitat of the Coahuilan box turtle to dry up significantly. Furthermore, the illegal collection and poaching of this turtle for the pet trade has occurred in the past, indicated by the presence of wild caught animals in private collections. Terrapene coahuila is currently considered as Endangered by the IUCN.
A studbook exists in Europe and in the United States for this species, monitoring births, deaths, parentage lines, individuals acquired from the wild, the location of individuals, and transfers of individuals. Trends in the studbook show that the Coahuilan box turtle is bred quite well in captivity.
The Turtle Conservancy has participated in surveys over the past few years and the threats to the Coahuilan Box Turtle were evident. The situation of this box turtle in the wild must be monitored extensively to ensure its survival. Fortunately, the Mexican government declared 84,347 hectares of the Cuatro Ciénegas as a protected area. However, this will not be enough and further conservation initiatives must be taken in the upcoming next few 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…
The Turtle Conservancy is on the forefront of the fight against the illegal wildlife trade in Madagascar. We work on both ends of the supply chain in Madagascar and Asia. Numerous articles and network news stories have covered our work fighting the trade in endangered tortoises, including CBS 60 Minutes, Charlie Rose, The New Yorker, click on the link below to learn more and make a donation today. Give your gift today to save Madagascar's imperiled tortoises.
In a bold move to stress the pivotal role of the Aldabra tortoise in regional ecosystem restoration, as well as shed light on the plight of this particular species in the face of climate change and human interference, a collective of conservationists and philanthropists have announced the establishment of the Indian Ocean Tortoise Alliance (IOTA), on the occasion of the first edition of the Paris Peace Forum – a new annual meeting for global governance actors…