23 May: World Turtle Day
The World Turtle Day 2017 was observed across the world on 23 May 2017 with an aim to protect the turtles and tortoises and their rapidly disappearing habitats across the world. The day was sponsored by American Tortoise Rescue (ATR).
The World Turtle Day was proclaimed by American Tortoise Rescue (ATR) in the year 2000. Since then, it is celebrated every year to create awareness about turtles and tortoises, the world’s oldest living reptiles in the world.
Founded in 1990, American Tortoise Rescue is a nonprofit organization that works to provide protection to all species of tortoise and turtle. Till now, ATR has placed about 4000 tortoises and turtles in caring homes.
What ATR does to protect turtles and tortoises?
Turtles and tortoises have been around for 200 million years, yet they are rapidly disappearing as a result of smuggling, the exotic food industry, habitat destruction, global warming and the cruel pet trade. ATR’s ultimate goal is to stop the illegal trade of turtles and tortoises around the world.
ATR asks the pet stores and reptile shows to stop the sale of hatchling tortoises and turtles as these stores do not provide proper information to the buyers.
For instance, many people find infant sulcata tortoises adorable and don't even give a second thought before buying them as pets. However, they are not provided with the information that these sulcata tortoises can grow to 100 pounds or more and needs constant heat throughout the year.
ATR also assists law enforcement when undersize or endangered turtles are confiscated and provides helpful information and referrals to persons with sick, neglected or abandoned turtles.
Moreover, ATR educates people and schools about the real risk of contracting salmonella infection from water turtles.