By Lisa Granshaw
A Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) swims through the water.May 23 is World Turtle Day, an annual event created to celebrate and increase awareness of turtle species around the world.
"Turtles are not as popular as cats and dogs, so interest, awareness and understanding is pretty slim," says Susan Tellem, cofounder of American Tortoise Rescue. World Turtle Day was started 13 years ago by the ATR, who have rescued and rehomed over 3,000 turtles since Tellem and her husband founded the organization in 1990.
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"This day is a good way to educate people about how to care for turtles, and to learn what danger they're in and how to be more aware of what they need," Tellem says.Endangered and Threatened
According to ATR, turtles and tortoises are threatened by the exotic food trade, habitat destruction, global warming and the pet trade.
Tellem believes the illegal pet trade is significantly harming turtles of all kinds, as demand for turtles in pet stores remains high andRead More »from Do Not Buy Turtles from Pet Stores! World Turtle Day Spotlights Endangered Reptiles