G. Platynota brood


The aim of the Turtles Survival Foundation is to prevent the extinction of this species that has lived on this planet for millions of years. Tortoises, and  some tropical kinds in particular, are being threatened in a myriad of ways by human activity. One the one hand, their natural habitat is being destroyed through deforestation, bush fires, road construction and agriculture.  On the other, they are a popular delicacy in many countries. Unfortunately, traditional Asian medicine uses tortoises, shells and all parts of the animals on a large scale.

Despite the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) signed in Washington in 1973 the threat to tropical tortoises was barely slowed down.  On the contrary, the CITES agreement, which was aimed at ensuring an orderly, legal and transparent trade with rare plants and animals, led to an increased collector’s value of rare species and ensured that illegal trade is flourishing more than ever.

One of the main problems associated with the black market is that the animals sold there cannot be bred and that they are therefore excluded from the genetic pool of tortoises threatened with extinction.

The protection and preservation of these animals, which are threatened not by natural circumstances but solely because of the thoughtlessness and irresponsibility of humans must therefore be addressed on several levels. It is imperative that the destruction of the habitats is stopped and that the local population is educated to respect tortoises more and not to use them for food and medicine. It has to be accepted, however, that this education will only have a limited impact on a hungry population. Some tortoises, such as A.Yniphora and G.Platynota are only found in a small geographical area and are particularly in danger from poachers and bush fires. It is important that breeding stations are set up within these tropical countries and that the broods can, as far as possible, be released into the wild. Even this goal is not easily achieved as the broods again become again the targets of poachers and the hungry indigenous population. We also believe that it is very important that interested animal welfare organisations set up extra-territorial (ex-situ) survival sites where the animals can thrive and breed.

A further main concern is that rare species must not be pushed into illegality to avoid a flourishing black market. The preferred solution would be for animal lovers to be able to keep endangered tortoises and to breed them. This should be legal and regulated. This will eventually cause the decline of the black market for illegal rare tortoises and it will no longer be attractive to poachers to plunder the natural habitat of these animals.

And so a targeted breeding programme and the support of species appropriate husbandry make an additional important contribution towards increasing the chance of survival of these animals in their own habitat.

These considerations underpin the foundation of the Swiss Turtles Survival Foundation. We offer a survival spot for rare species in Switzerland and endeavour to carry out a species appropriate breeding programme. We are in contact with many international animal welfare and tortoise organisations to promote the increased creation of more of these and similar breeding stations world wide. We also hope that it will be possible to release tortoises back into the wild provided the conditions in the natural habitat are favourable.

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G. Platynota Männchen Nachzucht 2011 Adultes G. Platynota Männchen G. Platynota Männchen Nachzucht 2011