American Tortoise Rescue was founded by husband-and-wife team Susan Tellem and Marshall Thompson, who began advocating for the humane treatment of animals after adopting a pair of desert-tortoise hatchlings. Since that first adoption, their organization has rescued more than 3,000 turtles and tortoises of various land and water species, focusing their efforts on abused turtles or those with special needs?and has expanded its scope to the treatment of these animals worldwide.
At American Tortoise Rescue's facility, approximately 125 animals live in an enclosure that mimics the wild, having freedom to play on the ground or surf in the water. Sick turtles receive medical care from the all-volunteer staff, and stay in the house?or "turtle hospital"?until they're healthy enough to go outside. And to supplement these rescue efforts, the organization also provides information and awareness about the care and rehabilitation of tortoises for the public, working to prevent the sale of hatchlings, the importation and live-market slaughter of adult turtles, and the destruction of the desert-tortoise habitat.