For Immediate Release
August 10, 2021
JORDAN GRAY, Turtle Survival Alliance, (912) 659-0978, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Turtle Survival Alliance’s (TSA) global conservation footprint expands to include field programs and projects in Mexico, Africa, and the United States.
• A project in South Sudan, Africa, aims to create conservation strategy for one of the world’s most endangered species of turtle, the Nubian Flapshell (Cyclanorbis elegans).
• Students Conserving Nature (SCN) will focus on research and conservation strategies for understudied and declining turtle species and subspecies across several Mexican states.
• AZA SAFE: American Turtles Program finds permanent home with the TSA.
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA, USA—Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) today announced the expansion of its global conservation efforts to include additional programs and projects in Africa, Mexico, and the United States. The addition of these programs and projects greatly enhances TSA’s ability to better understand and preserve understudied, declining, and Critically Endangered turtles. This expansion underscores TSA’s continued commitment to its vision of Zero Turtle Extinctions, and represents more than a year of intensive strategic analysis and planning.
“Despite a year that saw significant challenges to how we operate amidst an ongoing pandemic, the creation of new programs and projects embodies our mantra that “turtle conservation does not take a day off,” said Rick Hudson, President of Turtle Survival Alliance. “With more than 50% of the world’s 359 turtle species threatened with extinction, it is imperative that we don’t allow any to slip through the cracks. These new programs and projects help ensure that.”
Along the White Nile River in sub-Saharan Africa, a project to preserve the remnant population of the Nubian Flapshell Turtle (Cyclanorbis elegans), considered one of the most endangered species of turtle on Earth, is now being supported by the TSA. This project, spearheaded by Luca Luiselli, President of Rome’s Institute for Development, Ecology, Conservation and Cooperation, aims to better define the potential distribution of this species in South Sudan and take action to protect Nubian Flapshell turtles through nest protection and headstarting, awareness-building, and creation of a protected area.
Mexico ranks second in the world in terms of turtle diversity with 65 species and subspecies. Recent evaluations by TSA and our partners found that many of them are more threatened than previously thought, upgrading the country as a turtle conservation hotspot. A new program in Mexico in collaboration with Estudiantes Conservando La Naturaleza AC (Students Conserving Nature) will serve to better understand populations of terrestrial and freshwater turtle across several Mexican states. These efforts, led by Alejandra Monsiváis-Molina and Taggert Butterfield, will lay the groundwork for effective conservation planning for the country’s threatened turtles.
TSA’s Board Chair, Patricia Koval, said, “I’ve been impressed with the strategic planning that TSA’s Field Conservation Committee has undertaken during the pandemic. Seizing this opportunity of reduced field work and travel, and channeling that energy into long-term planning, is going to pay dividends for years to come for turtle conservation.”
In 2019, The Association of Zoos & Aquariums Saving Animals From Extinction (AZA SAFE): American Turtles Program was conceptualized by Dave Collins, and was formally adopted by AZA in 2020. This program integrates the work of state and federal biologists who focus on the conservation of wild populations with ex situ (captive) efforts of the zoo and aquarium community. As illicit domestic and internationally-bound trade in North American turtles continues, confiscations increase, and a greater burden is placed on state and federal law enforcement and institutions to care for these animals. The AZA SAFE: American Turtles Program serves as the infrastructure to manage and place seized turtles in facilities where they can be held temporarily, with the end goal of returning turtles seized from trade back into the wild. In July 2021, the Program officially found its permanent home with the TSA.
About Turtle Survival Alliance With a vision of zero turtle extinctions in the 21st century and a mission to transform passion for turtles into effective conservation action, the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) was formed in 2001 in response to rampant and unsustainable collection of Asian turtles supplying Chinese markets. Since its inception the TSA, a with 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has become recognized as a global force for turtle conservation, capable of taking swift and decisive action on behalf of critically endangered turtles and tortoises. TSA employs a three-pronged approach to turtle conservation: 1) restoring populations in the wild where possible; 2) securing species in captivity through assurance colonies; and 3) building capacity to restore, secure and conserve species within their range countries. In addition to the Turtle Survival Center in South Carolina, TSA manages collaborative turtle conservation programs in 15 diversity hotspots around the world. For more information, visit: www.turtlesurvival.org; http://www.facebook.com/turtlesurvival; www.instagram.com/turtlesurvival; @turtlesurvival on Twitter.