Lincolnshire sanctuary reaches out to save turtles worldwide

A Lincolnshire animal sanctuary has joined forces with a charity across the sea to save turtles worldwide.

The turtle sanctuary at Lincolnshire Wildlife Park.

In the past year alone, the National Turtle Sanctuary - based at Lincolnshire Wildlife Park - has rehomed over 210 turtles.

Now it plans to aid a turtle society in Malaysia, where the ongoing efforts and fundraising have been severely impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Park, formerly known as The National Parrot Sanctuary, was established in 1990, with over 100 species of parrots and a collection of over 1,200 individuals. The sanctuary is continuously growing and its residents include 10 tigers.

The Southern river terrapin (Batagur affinis) is a critically endangered species of freshwater turtle that is only found in southern Thailand, Cambodia and Peninsular Malaysia.

The National Turtle Sanctuary was developed last year and houses over 200 terrapins.

Andy Ferguson from the charity spoke of the conservation efforts that are due to start this May 2021: “Conservation of species is very important to us as both an animal sanctuary looking after a large number of exotic animals but also as animal lovers.

“When we opened the doors to the first of the terrapins in 2020, we had no idea just how big the scale of unwanted, rescued or abandoned terrapins would be.

"However, our terrapin problem was that of the pet trade particularly during the late ’90s’’.

Every few years the charity locates and supports conservation charities worldwide. This could be charities for tigers or parrots , with support including equipment such as camera traps, monetary or both.

Although the Covid ‘19 pandemic has hit the park financially for the year, the decision was made to continue with conservation efforts as much as possible.

After some research into some of the conservationist groups, Andy reached out to a group in Malaysia called the Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia.

Dr. Chen Pelf Nyok, PhD. Co-founder of the group and its Executive Director was delighted and told the sanctuary: "COVID-19 has thrown us into a hamster wheel, and no matter how hard we run, we seem to be running in circles. Our fundraising activities must be put on hold because they involve group visits. We now depend on public donations as well as the sale of our turtle-motif merchandise.’’

The Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia is currently raising funds to purchase microchips for the terrapins that we will be releasing at the end of the year. They are currently incubating 627 terrapin eggs, and assuming 70% of them hatch, would need to purchase 440 microchips, costing MYR8,800 (GBP1,500).

Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia (TCS) was founded out of necessity in 2011 when co-founders Drs. Chan Eng Heng and Chen Pelf Nyok realised that there was not an organisation or agency in charge of the tortoises and freshwater turtles in the country, despite being home to 18 native species.

TCS is the first non-governmental and non-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of freshwater turtles in Malaysia.

The Society aims to bring about the recovery of depleted wild populations of turtles, concerning freshwater turtles, in Malaysia.

The Southern river terrapin (Batagur affinis) is a critically endangered species of freshwater turtle that is only found in southern Thailand, Cambodia and Peninsular Malaysia. It is listed as one of the top 25 most critically endangered tortoises and freshwater turtles in the world. In Malaysia, they are listed as a protected species under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010. The collection and consumption of river terrapin eggs, coupled with habitat destruction, have caused the drastic decline of the river terrapin populations in Malaysia.

The National Turtle Sanctuary will be asking for additional donations from previous terrapin owners, that come into the sanctuary to fund the purchasing of microchips for the team, with an additional JustGiving page set up in the hope for additional funds.

To make a donation, visit the JustGiving page here.

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