May 23 is World Turtle Day, an annual event created to celebrate and increase awareness of turtle species around the world. 

Today, May 23rd is World Turtle Day. Founded in 2000, the American Tortoise Rescue is the founding sponsor of World Turtle Day. It was originally started to increase respect and knowledge for the world’s oldest creatures. World Turtle Day is celebrated throughout the world in a variety of ways, anything from dressing up as turtles to saving turtles caught on highways, to research activities. In Costa Rica, they are making a special appeal to prevent overfishing and implement a tougher stand against violators of the laws of preservation.

Turtles are reptiles, characterized by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield. Despite their hard exterior, they're really big softies on the inside and need our protection. These gentle animals have been around for about 200 million years, butt they are rapidly disappearing as a result of the exotic food industry, habitat destruction and the cruel pet trade. Several species of turtles are in danger of extinction. They are known as the "lora" (ridley) and the "baula" (leatherback) and the "verde" (green) and the "carey" (hawksbill). This is because of global warming all the way to poor fishing practices. The most endangered turtle on our planet is China's Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle. This species only has 4 individuals left in the whole world! Despite attempts to save it, China has not been able to bring it back from the edge of extinction.

What can we do to help these gentle prehistoric creatures trying to survive in our harsh modern day environment? There are several things that both adults and kids can do to help. The following are ways to make a difference for the turtles in our world.

Never buy a turtle or tortoise from a pet shop as it increases demand from the wild. Never remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they are sick or injured. If a tortoise is crossing a busy street, pick it up and send it in the same direction it was going – if you try to make it go back, it will turn right around again.

Write letters to legislators asking them to keep sensitive habitat preserved or closed to off road vehicles, and to prevent off shore drilling that can lead to more endangered sea turtle deaths.

Report cruelty or illegal sales of turtles and tortoises to your local animal control shelter. Report the sale of any turtle or tortoise of any kind.

The loss of any species is a tragic occurance to our world as there is a reason and place for all creatures on our earth. Let us celebrate World Turtle Day today and take the steps that are necessary to insure they will be with us for the next generation and beyond.

Photo credit: Tim McCormack

Responses to "World Turtle Day - A Day to Respect and Protect the oldest Creature on Earth."

  1. FulviaChristine says:

    Such sound advice to billions of unknowing people !

  2. Anonymous says:


  3. Sending and wishing my very energized call for action to all who can do the simplest of things; embrace the entire neighborhood in which you live especially those that you do not easily see or recognize!

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