World Turtle Day is observed annually on May 23 to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world.
The celebration of World Turtle Day was initiated by the non-profit organization American Tortoise Rescue (ATR) in the year 2000. The organisation was founded in Malibu, California in 1990 by Susan Tellem and her husband Marshall Thompson.
These magnificent creatures come in all shapes and sizes and live in a number of different environments. They belong to a group of reptiles called Testudines, which includes turtles, tortoises and terrapins.
Turtles maintain an ecological balance and, therefore, it’s important to conserve these gentle animals.
The term "World Turtle Day" is trademarked by Susan Tellem of Malibu, California. The theme of this year's World Turtle Day revolves around the heartfelt phrase, "I love Turtles."
There are about 356 species of turtles in the world. Some of the popular species include hawksbill turtles, leatherback turtles, flatback turtles, loggerheads, red-eared sliders and western-painted turtles among others.
They vary in size, ranging up to 2 to 7 feet and weighing from 70 to over 1,500 pounds.
Since 1990, ATR has placed about 4,000 tortoises and turtles in caring homes. ATR provides helpful information and referrals to persons with sick, neglected or abandoned turtles.