Tibor Somlo in Ampijoroa


Prof. Dr. Tibor Somlo, President of the Foundation Board

An ear, nose and throat specialist by day, this entrepreneur and father of six discovered his great love for reptiles when still a toddler.
His first journeys of discovery with his grandfather were limited to seeing domestic lizard on the banks of the river Rhine at Basel. He worked with bearded dragons, basilicas, several types of geckos and collared lizards and attempted to breed Yemen chameleons and panther chameleons.
The first tortoises he kept were red-footed tortoises followed by several types of testudos. 

He became more and more aware of how immediately and irrevocably the existence of many breeds of tortoise, in particular tropical varieties, are threatened by human greed and recklessness. 
The tortoise, an animal that has been roaming the earth for 200 million years, could become the victim of man’s exploitation of nature within a few years and the biodiversity of the many kinds of tortoise threatens to disappear forever.  

Tortoises now face a similar fate than that of the American bison some 150 years ago. At that time, there were only some 200 American bisons left and the species was all but extinct. A few dedicated people set up a last minute breeding programme and today there are again several hundreds of bisons.  

The Tortoise Survival Foundation set up by Tibor Somlo aims at righting one of the many injustices we humans have inflicted on nature. Our endangered fellow occupants of the planet, the nearly extinct tropical tortoises, are worth a chance for a future for their kind!

Pascal Berger, Member of the Foundation Board

Our tortoise advocate. A father of three, he is a solicitor and notary public in a medium sized commercial law firm in Basel and an executive member of several legal entities. 

He developed a passion for tortoises at a very early age and is passionate about this project.

Mathias Treyer, Member of the Foundation Board

Mathias Treyer is an auditor working for a modern consultancy advising small and medium sized companies. He cares deeply about the protection of animals and species and has been passionate about tortoises since childhood.