Public Service Announcements


60 Minutes: The Race to Save the Tortoise

Turtles and tortoises have been roaming the planet for 200 million years, but now many of them are endangered by poachers who can sell some animals for as much as $60,000. Lesley Stahl reports from Madagascar.


Earth Day


Stars Unite on Earth Day to Help the Turtle Conservancy! Because turtles are the most threatened vertebrates on Earth, stars like Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber and more team up to bring awareness on Earth Day.


The Trophy Hunter


This year we are sending out a video whose content may be difficult for some viewers. However, the video highlights an important issue: the illegal wildlife trade and its role in the global extinction crisis.

This holiday we are supporting TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade-monitoring network. The illegal wildlife trade is the third largest illicit trade after drugs and arms and is responsible for the extinction of many animal and plant species. TRAFFIC is a joint program of the WWF and IUCN and works around the world to ensure that the trade in wildlife is not a threat to the conservation of nature.


Southeast Asia Wildlife Trade


The Turtle Conservancy has surveyed the major wildlife markets of Southeast Asia – documenting the trade in species that originate from all over the globe.


In Search of the Impressed Tortoise


This film takes you on a journey through Thailand where we search for turtles and tortoises in pagoda ponds, museums, wildlife markets, and the field.

From Bangkok's notorious Chatuchak market to a “Tortoise Village” in central Thailand, we take you to a number of unique locations for seeing turtles and tortoises. The primary focus of the trip was to study the Impressed Tortoise (Manouria impressa).

We document many of Thailand's native species, including Heosemys annandalii, Heosemys grandis, Heosemys spinosa, Cyclemys dentata, Malayemys subtrijuga, Platysternon megacephalum, Batagur baska, Batagur borneoensis, Cuora amboinensis, Siebenrockiella crassicollis, Amyda cartilaginea, Dogania subplana, Chitra chitra, Pelochelys cantorii, Notochelys platynota, Indotestudo elongata, Manouria emys, Manouria impressa, and Pelodiscus sinensis a species that was introduced centuries ago. In the forests of northeastern Thailand we tracked Manouria impressa and studied the natural history of this cryptic species. In this video, the captive husbandry techniques of the Behler Chelonian Center are compared to the conditions in the wild.


The Great Tortoise Transect


This film takes you on a journey through Namibia and South Africa where we search for turtles and tortoises in some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.

From Windhoek, Namibia to Cape Town, South Africa is approximately 1,500 km due south. This transect crosses the range of 11 species and subspecies of turtle and tortoise. The last remaining habitat of Geometric Tortoise (Psammobates geometricus) - arguably one of the most endangered species of tortoise in the world - was visited while in South Africa.

The species list includes: Chersina angulata, Stigmochelys pardalis babcocki, Stigmochelys pardalis pardalis, Homopus areolatus, Homopus signatus, Homopus solus, Pelomedusa subrufa, Psammobates oculiferus, Psammobates tentorius tentorius, Psammobates tentorius trimeni, and Psammobates tentorius verroxii.


In Search of the Okinawa Leaf Turtle


This film takes you on a journey through Okinawa, Japan where we search for the elusive Okinawa Leaf Turtle (Geoemyda japonica) in the wild.

We travel through the scenic countryside of Okinawa Island through subtropical forests and mountainous terrain.

The focus of the trip is to study the Okinawa Leaf Turtle's ecology, status, and distribution. This trip helped us to fully understand the captive management of this species. This may be the first time this cryptic chelonian has been filmed in situ, where they inhabit deep burrows set on very steep, heavily forested ravines and gorges.

This film explains the long and confusing taxonomic history of the genus Geoemyda and includes footage of Geoemyda spengleri, Heosemys depressa, Heosemys impressa, Siebenrockiella leytensis, Melanochelys tricarinata, Rhinoclemmys rubida rubida, Vijayachelys silvatica, Cyclemys dentata, Manouria impressa, Pelodiscus sinensis, Mauremys mutica kami, and Cuora flavomarginata evelynae.


The Argentine Tortoise


This film takes you on a journey through Uruguay and Argentina where we search for the native turtles and tortoises of the region.

We travel along the scenic coastlines of Uruguay to the vast deserts and mountains of Patagonia and ultimately, to the hot impenetrable forests of the northern Chaco.

The focus of the trip is to study the Argentine Tortoise's ecology, status, and distribution. There has been confusion in the scientific community as to how many distinct subspecies exist. We were there to find answers to that question. We also find and document the Spiny-neck Turtle (Acanthochelys spixii) and the Chaco Side-neck Turtle (Acanthochelys pallidipectoris) in the field.


IUCN Red List Meeting - Madagascar


This film introduces the precarious future of Madagascar's unique turtles and tortoises and their habitats. It is a summary of the IUCN Red List meeting that took place in Madagascar to reclassify all five of the endemic turtles and tortoises: the Spider Tortoise (Pyxis arachnoides), Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata), Flat-tailed Tortoise (Pyxis planicauda), Ploughshare Tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora), and the Madagascar Big-headed Turtle (Erymnochelys madagascariensis).

Included are interviews with many of the world's leading turtle and tortoise biologists: Peter Pritchard, Jim Juvik, Rick Hudson, Anders Rhodin, and Russell Mittermeier, to name a few.


Year in Review


This film takes you on a journey to visit in situ and ex situ conservation projects around the world. The destinations include: the Galapagos Islands, central Mexico, the islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues, London, the United States, and more.

In the Galapagos we look at the in situ conservation of Galapagos Tortoises. In central Mexico we visit the Bolson Tortoise in one of its last remaining strongholds. We search for the endemic species of turtles and tortoises in Madagascar. On the islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues, we evaluate reintroduction programs that are replacing extinct tortoises with closely related extant surrogates. After visiting the London and Jersey zoos, we return to the United States to visit sites in the Northeast, Florida, the Southwest, and California.


Behler Chelonian Center


The Behler Chelonian Center, established in 2005, is the Turtle Conservancy's southern California facility dedicated to a strategic captive breeding and management program.

Since its inception, the Behler Chelonian Center has successfully bred 15 species of turtles and tortoises. The campus houses over 500 animals representing 25 taxa including several founders of the Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata) Species Survival Plan as well as the first Spider Tortoise (Pyxis arachnoides) hatchlings recorded in the United States.

The Behler Chelonian Center supports researchers, ecologists, conservationists, students, and filmmakers-all working to preserve turtles and tortoises around the globe. The campus has hosted many of the world's leading authorities on turtle and tortoise natural history and conservation, including Ray Farrell, Brian Horne, Rick Hudson, Jim Juvik, Ross Kiester, Gerald Kuchling, Tom Leuteritz, Tom Licitra, Russell Mittermeier, Peter Praschag, Peter Pritchard, and Craig Stanford. Annually, the Turtle Conservancy awards grants to foreign students allowing them to participate in conservation projects on the Behler Chelonian Center campus.