Man: One mass extinction too many?

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Offline Don_1

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Man: One mass extinction too many?
« on: 03/05/2012 12:13:49 »
The Chelonians have roamed this planet on both land and in the oceans for more than 250 million years. They have survived the Permian, Triassic and Cretaceous mass extinctions, three of the most devastating mass extinctions our planet has experienced. But in the past few hundred years, Man has brought many species to extinction and many more to the brink of extinction.

Yes, I’m banging on about the plight of the tortoises and turtles again, and I make no apology for it.

Last year the National Park Service brought in plans to limit the use of ORV’s (off road vehicles) at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. But, as the Center for Biological Diversity reports,
Quote from:  Center for Biological Diversity
….. a bill in Congress is threatening to undo these critical new protections. H.R. 4094 is a bull-dozing bill that would undermine the public's will and undo new protections for endangered sea turtles which use the beach to nest and lay their eggs. In fact, it would allow ORV use across the entire park. Unrestricted ORV use has been documented to kill sea turtles.

This is in stark contrast to US Federal laws which are supposed to protect all species of marine turtle. Sadly, there are few Federal laws to protect North American tortoises and freshwater turtles. It is left to individual states to introduce protection for these animals. This leads to confusion. Box turtles are protected in some states, not in others. The state of Louisiana reported that in a 21 month period, some 30,000 Box turtles perished as a result of road kill and people taking these highly timid and nervous animals into captivity, which more often than not will result in the animal’s demise. 

As for the tortoises, the pet trade, despite CITES and national laws designed to protect them, continue to face devastating population decline in the wild, by the hand of unscrupulous, profiteering animal traders.
This email has been sent by the Tortoise Protection Group:

Quote from: Tortoise Protection Group

Despite many UK Breeders not being able to find good homes for the tortoises they breed, there are still a large number of tortoises that are still being imported into the UK, which is of great concern to us. Many arrive here with illnesses and diseases, due to cross-infection through keeping 100's of tortoises together prior to shipment and during their transportation. The large number of young tortoises sold by dealers with parasitic infestations, is not natural for "captive bred" tortoises. Many of these tortoises are clearly far older than their licenses suggest?


Only a few weeks ago I was speaking to a lady here who had a friend order two tortoises from a certain well known dealer in Essex. Both arrived via a courier DEAD!

In order to offer an alternative to purchasing tortoises from dealers/pet shops etc, we set up a UK Breeders list, which we are now starting to expand (all the breeders on the list are verified by us). This is largely due to the new page we have set up on our website where our verified breeders can advertise their tortoises for sale. Although the page is doing quite well in the Google ratings, we really need to push it further up the ratings; above the dealer's links and other general adverts.

We are asking all members to PLEASE make occasional/daily searches on Google e.g. "Tortoise For Sale" and to click the Tortoise Protection Group link :-

–this will help with the ratings. I believe it is currently on page 2.

To help the ratings we have created a new Facebook Group:-
Please feel free to join and invite your friends too.

Many Thanks for taking your time to read this post.

I hope you and your shelled friends are well – sunny here the last two days….Thankfully:-)

Kindest Regards

Thank you Darren, yes my two shelled chums are doing just fine, but wouldn't mind some better weather!

It is the sad truth, that despite their vulnerability, not all species of tortoise are protected by CITES and even those which are, still face the problem of poaching. These illegal animals are made legal by the fact that when imported into the UK, they are claimed as ‘captive bred’ or ‘farmed’ animals and duly issued with the necessary documentation. I think I can safely say the same is happening elsewhere.

But don’t place the blame entirely on the poachers, it is we, the general public, who fuel the demand for this trade.

Most of us are aware that Lonesome George is the last remaining Pinta Island giant Galapagos tortoise, but how many are aware that the Egyptian Tortoise is extinct in Egypt, and hangs on by a thread only in Libya. In Madagascar, both the Ploughshare & Radiated tortoises face extinction due to destruction of their natural habitat and poaching for the pet trade. An estimated 1000 of these two tortoise species are being poached every week. Hermann and Horsfield tortoises are threatened in former Soviet Bloc nations by unscrupulous pet traders. These, like many other species face a new threat from man. The emerging economies of Asian nations is revitalising the threat to them while the threat from the west continues unabated.

Will man be the ultimate nemesis of these ancient creatures? Has CITES failed them?
« Last Edit: 06/05/2012 01:40:30 by Don_1 »
If brains were made of dynamite, I wouldn't have enough to blow my nose.