Turtles and tortoises represent one of the planet’s most imperiled animal groups and urgently need conservation assistance. Over half of their 300+ species face the risk of extinction based on the criteria of the IUCN Red List, with primary dangers including the loss and deterioration of their habitats, extensive killing for food and medicinal purposes, and the illegal international trade in these animals as pets.

These are just a few of the reasons we support the mission of American Tortoise Rescue, which has created turtle and tortoise rescue centers across the globe and also started World Turtle Day, which brings international attention to the plights facing these ancient animals.

Here’s some ways the American Tortoise Rescue recommends you can make a difference and ensure turtles and tortoises don’t become extinct as experts predict by 2050:

Educate: Help us spread awareness about the challenges that turtles and tortoises face. Reach out to schools, communities, and online platforms to share the stories we will provide over the next few months on our website and social media.

Advocate: Support legislation that protects turtles and tortoises from habitat destruction and the illegal pet trade. You can google these terms to find organizations in your state. As an example, California imports thousands of turtles taken from the wild, perhaps even in your state, for the pet trade and live food markets.

Rescue and Rehabilitate: Organizations like American Tortoise Rescue have 30 years dedicated to rescuing and rehoming turtles and tortoises in need. Support our efforts and those of the many turtle rescues throughout the world that provide adoption. Adopt don’t buy turtles.

Conserve Habitats: Participate in conservation projects aimed at protecting the habitats these creatures call home. Whether it’s coastal cleanups or protesting development on land where turtles have lived for years.

Remember, it’s not just about saving turtles and tortoises. It’s about preserving the intricate web of life on our planet, acknowledging that every species has a role to play. Our choices today will shape the world these creatures inherit tomorrow. You can learn more at tortoise.com.