About Us

Turtle Survival Alliance

The board and staff of Turtle Survival Alliance recently updated our mission and vision statements to better reflect our ultimate goal to restore wild populations of tortoises and freshwater turtles. We envision a planet where turtles thrive in the wild, and are respected and protected by all humans. To further this vision, the mission of Turtle Survival Alliance is to protect and restore wild populations of tortoises and freshwater turtles through science-based conservation, global leadership, and local stewardship. 

During its first four years, Turtle Survival Alliance operated as a task force for the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. In 2004, we became an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit, initially with a home base in Texas at the Fort Worth Zoo. With growth also came the need for a facility to house and provide assurance colonies for some of the world’s most endangered turtles and tortoises. Thus, in 2013, we established the Turtle Survival Center in rural coastal South Carolina, now home to more than 600 animals. 

With your help, Turtle Survival Alliance provides conservation breeding programs, field research, culturally appropriate conservation initiatives, community engagement and outreach, and shares new research and techniques throughout the global turtle and tortoise conservation community. Through collaborations with zoos, aquariums, universities, private turtle enthusiasts, veterinarians, government agencies, and conservation organizations, Turtle Survival Alliance has become widely recognized as a catalyst for turtle conservation, with a reputation for swift and decisive action.

Our Team

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Board of Directors

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Why Turtles, Why Now?

Turtles and tortoises are among the most charismatic, intriguing, and beloved animals on Earth. Over the 260 million years they have lived on our planet, turtles have evolved to live across a vast array of habitats. From the river valleys of southwestern Canada, to the Andes foothills of Argentina, and the steppes of Kazakhstan to the coastal streams of southeastern Australia, there are turtles. There are few countries on Earth that turtles do not naturally inhabit, coexisting with humans. Unfortunately, in most of these places, turtles are in trouble.

Of the 476 living types of turtles, tortoises, sea turtles, and terrapins, more than half are threatened with extinction. Ten have become extinct already in modern times; several more are considered or presumed to be extinct in the wild. And there are other species of which there are so few left in the wild that they can no longer continue on their ancient evolutionary paths. If we do not act now, we may lose many species in the foreseeable future.

Most species are subject to a variety of threats: habitat destruction and fragmentation, increased predation, legal and illegal collection, incidental entanglement in fishing gear, road mortality, and climate change, to name a few. With all the threats facing them, it’s no wonder turtles need our help. What we do today is essential for turtle survival tomorrow.

Formed in 2001, Turtle Survival Alliance is a global conservation organization that works to create a planet where tortoises and freshwater turtles can thrive in the wild. Our science-based initiatives are directed by local leaders, inspiring sustainable, community-based stewardship to prevent extinctions. Where populations cannot yet succeed in the wild, our breeding programs ensure their future survival. Because turtles are ancient, remarkable creatures—and to save them, we all play a role.