Turtle and Tortoise Newsletter, 2000, 1:24
© 2000 by Chelonian Research Foundation

Turtle and Tortoise Newsletter

Tortoise Reserve: Their Projects and the New Chelonian Slide Collection

Gregory Pokrywka
The Tortoise Reserve, Inc. PO Box 7082, White Lake, NC 28337 Email:

The Tortoise Reserve is involved in several projects. It oversees a red-footed tortoise captive breeding program. Over 1,000 adult tortoises, all confiscated from markets or donated by zoos, are used in a combination of research studies and educational programs. Hatchlings are sold worldwide in the pet trade and funds raised from the sales totally support the captive breeding, as well as other reptile conservation projects in South America. Each year about 15% of the hatchlings (ones with parents of known origin) are head-started and released back into the wild. Our goal is to provide enough tortoises for the international pet trade so that red-footed tortoises will no longer be taken from the wild.

Another project involves harvesting eggs and head starting the endangered South American Giant River Turtle. To date we have released over 10,000 7-8 inch young back into the wild.

We are working with the Bahama Government on life history studies and conservation programs for two endemic fresh water turtles: One on Cat Island and the other on Inagua. An educational exhibit is being developed in Nassau.

We have cooperative agreements for management of wildlife sanctuaries in North Carolina, Arizona and Venezuela. Together they total over 35,500 acres of key wildlife habitats.

The Tortoise Reserve gives annual awards and grants to individuals and non-government institutions for conservation. In 1998-99 we made five contributions ranging from $500 - $17,000. Examples include awards to the Baltimore Zoo, for an innovative educational Bog Turtle exhibit, and the Cleveland Zoological Society for an educational program on Giant South American River Turtles in Venezuela. We have set up an endowment fund which will be used exclusively to provide annual scholarships for students working on chelonian conservation projects.

Chelonian Slide Collection

The Tortoise Reserve is developing a photographic library of chelonians. At this time we have about 60% of the world’s species represented, a cataloged collection of well over 7,000 images. These photos are available to anyone for noncommercial use. We distribute labeled, high quality, duplicate slides. These are intended for educational (projection) use, but, on request, may be used in newsletters, websites, and other activities which promote turtle conservation. We simply request that the individual photographers and the Tortoise Reserve be acknowledged for each use. At this time we have good images of all North American species and subspecies and all the marine turtles. Our collection from other regions is less complete.

Photographers retain the copyright to all images and are acknowledged. We make duplicates and return the original slides. Images will not be available for commercial use.

Slides and Regional Slide Sets Available: These slide sets contain labeled slides of all species and subspecies from a particular region. Currently, two sets are available. 1) Turtles of The Northern and Central Atlantic States (eastern Canada to Virginia) 29 slides: $35 and 2) Turtles of the Carolinas (North and South Carolina) 25 slides: $30. Please provide an additional $3 for postage. Other regional slide sets will soon be available. Single slides are available at a cost of $2.50 each or $2 each in orders of 10 or more different images.

Species Profile Series: The first turtle featured is the Bog Turtle (Clemmys muhlenbergii). Two versions of this slide program are available. A 100 slide version and a shorter 40 slide version. Both sets come with an educational booklet which contains a detailed script for each slide. A second script for grade school groups is in preparation. It is cosponsored by the Baltimore Zoo, the Knoxville Zoo, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. All profits from the sales of this set go to “Project Bog Turtle” and similar on-going bog turtle conservation programs. Cost $100 for the complete set, and $50 for the shorter one. Add $3 for postage.

Please contact the author at the above address for more information or to order slides. ALL profits go directly to our Asian Turtle Conservation Effort (see Asian Turtle Conservation Article).