The Issue: Modern Challenges Face Turtle Populations
Though turtles and tortoises have survived in the wild for more than 200 million years, their numbers are dwindling due to the exotic-food industry, habitat destruction, and the pet trade. When these animals are injured or abandoned, they can have a difficult time finding adoptive families because they lack the immediate appeal of a furry companion animal. Financial constraints also impact the care for turtles and tortoises due to their need for fresh fruits, vegetables, hay, and special worms. As a result of their challenges, May 23 has been established as World Turtle Day to bring to light the modern issues that turtles and tortoises face.
The Campaign: Raised Garden to Feed Rescued Turtles
If this Grassroots campaign raises $450, then American Tortoise Rescue can purchase bricks for a raised vegetable garden, with donations matched up to $2,000 by Malibu Country Mart. Each additional $10 raised will go toward purchasing other materials, equipment, and seeds for the garden. If the campaign raises $2,108, then additional funds will go toward refurbishing the turtle ponds at the American Tortoise Rescue facility. As part of World Turtle Day, American Tortoise Rescue is building this sustainable garden to feed fresh fruits and vegetables to roughly 100 rescued turtles and tortoises that have been injured or require special care.
American Tortoise Rescue
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.