While over-collection and poorly-prepared pet keepers have certainly led to declines in wild populations of some species, private hobbyists have also contributed immensely to the conservation of amphibians, invertebrates and reptiles (as well as fishes, birds and mammals). This is especially true of those animals which zoos lack the interest or space to maintain…often the very creatures most favored by private keepers.
The Asian Turtle Crisis
A lack of funds and space in zoos led the establishment of the Turtle Survival Alliance, the largest turtle rescue effort ever launched. The Alliance was organized in response to unprecedented declines in freshwater turtle populations throughout Asia – a phenomenon that has come to be known as the Asian Turtle Crisis.
Soon after the group was formed, I traveled to Floridain the company of private and professional turtle enthusiasts to help rehabilitate and house nearly 10,000 turtles confiscated in China; many of the private sector people I met there now participate in rehabilitation and breeding initiatives in cooperation with zoos and museums. Read More »