Focusing On The Conservation of Ecosystems, Habitats & Wildlife

Celebrating World Turtle Day

American Tortoise Rescue, which is a turtle and tortoise rescue organization founded in 1990 in Malibu, California initiated World Turtle Day in 2000. This group brings attention to turtle conservation issues and creates awareness on how each of us can help protect these gentle but at risk animals.



MAY is the month that turtles emerge from winter hibernation and start looking for their mates and nesting areas.



The Humane Society has suggested 12 actions you can take to honor the turtles and tortoises.



Help Stop the Asian Turtle Crisis
. The majority of Asian turtle populations have been critically diminished by over-collection, particularly for delicacies in restaurants and live animal markets. Dealers are now targeting turtle populations elsewhere, such as in the United States and Europe, to meet the Asian demand. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has identified this as the “Asian turtle crisis,” and it has spearheaded efforts to protect turtles from the trade.

Get Turtles out of U.S. Live Animal Markets. Turtles are among the most popular offerings at live animal markets in the United States. They suffer terrible abuse in filthy, neglectful conditions, and they are slaughtered by being cut apart while conscious. The vast majority of market turtles are taken from the wild, contributing to declining U.S. turtle populations. Tell state wildlife agencies that you’re concerned about the increasing collection of wild turtles and tortoises to supply animal markets in the United States and abroad.

If wildlife is being sold for food in a live animal market in your state, contact your local and state legislators, asking that they ban the practice. You may also find it effective to contact state and local health departments (check the Centers for Disease Control web site for listings), which are responsible for sanitary conditions at live animal markets. Finally, contact state wildlife agencies about the dangers that non-native and diseased market animals may pose to local wildlife if released.

Don’t Pollute or Litter. Pollution makes its way into bodies of water and wild areas, poisoning turtles and tortoises and destroying their habitats. Always properly dispose of any hazardous materials such as paint or oil. Garbage, such as plastic bags, kills many pond turtles and sea turtles who either ingest it or become entangled in it. Reduce the amount of garbage you produce and dispose of it properly.

Protect Turtle and Tortoise Habitat. Become active in your local conservation commission or parks and recreation department, and work to preserve turtle habitat.

Stop Turtle and Tortoise Exploitation. Avoid activities such as turtle races. They involve taking turtles out of their natural habitats and exposing them to many dangers, not to mention an enormous amount of stress. Races can harm individual turtles as well as entire local wild populations.

Give Them a Brake. If you see a turtle or tortoise crossing a road, gently pick him up and carry him across in the direction he was headed. (Be watchful for cars in the process.) If the turtle is a large one, or a snapping turtle, use a stick to nudge him gently across the road without getting too close.

Enjoy Turtles and Tortoises in the Wild. Never keep wild turtles or tortoises as pets or buy them from a pet store. The trade in reptiles as pets is responsible for tremendous animal suffering and serious damage to turtle and tortoise populations. Learn to enjoy these animals by observing them in their natural habitat, where they belong. If turtles or tortoises live in your yard, why not keep them happy by building a pond and by landscaping with plants that provide protection and food? Edible plants such as tropical hibiscus, dandelion, geraniums, and Chinese lantern can be quite appetizing.  (Make sure that your plants are free of pesticide and herbicide residue.) Piles of leaves, vines, and downed trees make perfect hiding places.

Do Not Disturb. Steer clear of the beach at night during the summer. Your presence will frighten nesting sea turtles back into the sea, preventing them from laying eggs and jeopardizing any eggs they have laid. Click here for information about what to do if you find a sea turtle that you think may be in trouble.

Turn Out the Lights. Do not shine bright lights on the beach at night. Oppose coastal development such as condominiums, houses, resorts, and hotels; they tend to expose beaches to excessive artificial lighting, which discourages female turtles from approaching the beach to lay eggs. The light also draws hatchlings away from the ocean, disorients them, and exposes them to predation and deadly dehydration.

Report Crimes. Tell local authorities if you see any person harassing or poaching a sea turtle, her eggs, hatchlings, or nests — or those of any other endangered turtles and tortoises. These activities are violations of U.S. state and federal laws.


See What You Can Do. Several groups are involved in research, conservation, and advocacy work to protect turtles and tortoises. Join one of these groups to stay informed. (See the off-site links below for just a few.)

Spread the Word. Educate others about the importance of protecting turtles and tortoises from commercial exploitation and abuse in your community and throughout the world. Be a voice for turtles.

Life Series:

LIFE: 11 Part Series on Discovery Channel

Series Premiere March 21, 2010 —Starts Tonight

Narrated by Oprah Winfrey

Covering all life on Earth:  Behind the Scenes

Reptiles & Amphibians Life Series Tonight

Also know as a Jesus Christ Lizard: Can sprint on water up to 100 ft.




Mike Gunton’s “LIFE” Diary

Special Valentine's Day for the San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Wild Animal Park received a special gift on Valentine’s Day – a baby African Elephant. At approximately 2:00 a.m., visitors that were camping at the zoo said they heard elephants “trumpeting” which commonly occurs when a baby calf is born.





Details have not been released for this baby African elephant, however newborns usually weigh between 250 and 300 pounds and stand approxiamtely tree feet tall.  With this new addition, the Swaziland herd has grown to more than a dozen.

US-born Giant Pandas Head Back to China

Leaving on a jet plane…Tai Shan & Mei Lan Leave USA




Mei Lan of Zoo Atlanta and Tai Shan of the National Zoo in Washington were loaded into special travel crates for their flight back to their new home in Sichuan China.


In 2006, the female panda (Mei Lan) was the first cub born at the Atlanta Zoo.  She had a panda cam that was provided by EarthCam where people could watch her online.


To watch their Farewell You Tube video, click on the play button below.



New Species Discovered in Fiji

According to Fiji Times Online, a new creature was discovered earlier this month on the islands of Taveuni and Qamea in Fiji.


The islanders thought that the newly discovered iguana would be a threat to the other indigenous species there, however it has been determined by the head Chief Veterinary Officer (Dr. Robin Archari) that this new species is a herbivore.



Iguana found by Lovonivonu villagers in Fiji. Source: Fiji Times Online



According to sources the iguana was “introduced by this foreigner who constructed ponds with the intention of breeding more. He brought in two iguanas and they’ve multiplied to about 1000.”

Loss of Plant Diversity is Linked to Decline in Honeybees




Researchers suggests in a recent BBC publication that the loss of habitat destruction and falling plant diversity is linked to the decline of honeybees in many countries.


To read this article (CLICK HERE) or click on the photo below.




This is a huge problem that needs to be addressed immediately! According to Bumblebee.Org, bees are responsible for pollinating plants that provide much of our food; in North America it is believed that 30% of food for human consumption originates from plants pollinated by bees.

Mammals "Rafted" to Madagascar, Climate Model Suggests

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Ker Than for National Geographic News Published this article on January 20, 2010.


Photograph by Frans Lanting, National Geographic Stock



Only in the movies could a lion, a zebra, a giraffe, and a hippo wash ashore on Madagascar to start a new life.


But a new computer model suggests there may be a grain of truth in the animated fiction: The ancestors of ring-tailed lemurs, flying foxes, and other mammals that live on the Indian Ocean island got there aboard natural rafts.

New Species Discovered With an Uncertain Future

A team of researchers from the Arizona-based Reptile & Amphibian Ecology International announced they have discovered a new rain frog along with 30 other unknown species in Ecuador’s highland forest.  Unfortunately, global warming is a real threat for this new species and all creatures that live in the forest.


To read this article (CLICK HERE) or click on the photo below.


New Species of Rain Frog Discovered: Photo found on National Geographic

Male Indian Rhinoceros Born at The Berlin Zoo

This Indian Rhinoceros calf was born Sunday in captivity at The Berlin Zoo to Mother Jhansi.  Indian rhinoceros are found in parts of India as well as Nepal.  There are approximately 3,000 Indian rhinos in the WILD today.   To read this article (CLICK HERE) or click on the photo below.


Male Indian Rhinoceros Calf and Mother: Photo found on Los Angeles Times Local "L.A. Unleashed", Photo taken by: Arno Burgi / European Pressphoto Agency