Today is World Turtle Day (May 23). It is a day to acknowledge the importance of these reptiles in the ecosystem and work to protect them. The main goal of the day is also to educate people about the things to do protect the habitats of turtles as well as tortoises.
Turtles are one of the world’s oldest reptile clans that are known to survive and thrive across a range of diverse habitats on Earth. These creatures date back to the time of the dinosaur era, which is over 200 million years ago.
According to a report, there are a total of 300 species of turtles around the world, out of which, 129 are endangered.
The day was founded by a non-profit organization, American Tortoise Rescue (ATR), in 1990. It conducts rescues and rehabilitation all tortoise and turtle species, who are vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered. This is the 22nd International World Turtle Day that is being celebrated.
Susan Tellem and her husband, Marshall Thompson, created the organization. Together, they rescued and re-sheltered over 4,000 turtles and tortoises.
"Ideally, all turtles should live in the wild, but realistically, this is not always possible. Too many are sold at pet stores, by street vendors, or used as prizes at carnivals and other events. Thankfully, there are many more rescues and sanctuaries now, as well as loving homes,” Susan Tellem shares.
Notably, there are around 19 species of turtles inhabiting in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park. During winters, a large number of turtles can be seen sunbathing near Diphlu river at Kohra range – a must view for tourists. The place is therefore named ‘Kasomari’.
This year’s theme for World Turtle Day is - 'Shellebrate!' It asks “everyone to Love and Save Turtles.
Few quotes on World Turtle Day –
“Nature is slow but sure; she works no faster than need be; she is the tortoise that wins the race by her perseverance.”
“We live in a culture full of hares, but the tortoise always wins.”
“Remember, slow and steady wins the race.”
“Try to be like the turtle at ease in your own shell.”
“Take a walk with a turtle. And behold the world in pause.”