Activities of the New York Turtle and Tortoise Society

Meetings:  Regular meetings are held September through April, often at the American Museum of Natural History, and in other locations in New York metropolitan area.  Guest speakers — zoologists, veterinarians, conservationists, and other recognized experts — present topics of special interest to Society members.  See current schedule of events.

Annual Seminar:  This full-day meeting features in-depth presentations by noted turtle and tortoise authorities on a wide range of topics, designed to appeal to both serious hobbyists and professional turtle biologists.  Seminar 2004 is being scheduled for January.  View program information for Seminar 2003.

Conservation:  The Society actively seeks protection for both endangered species and critical habitat.  Past activities have included participation in the nationwide campaign to require and enforce the use of turtle excluder devices (TEDs) in shrimp nets, the promotion of legislation prohibiting environmentally hazardous balloon releases, and petitions to the NY Department of Environmental Conservation, resulting in the enactment of protection for the diamondback terrapin in New York State.  With the American Museum of Natural History’s Turtle Recovery Program, NYTTS cosponsored Conservation, Restoration, and Management of Tortoises and Turtles—An International Conference in 1993, and published the subsequent proceedings of that meeting, a 500-page volume documenting the dire conservation status of many of the world’s chelonians.  See an overview of the proceedings volume.

Educational Activity:  Through its Public Education Program, the Society participates in various public events to disseminate current and accurate information and to promote greater awareness of turtles and tortoises.  Speakers and special programs can be arranged.  Information on captive husbandry, diet, and health care, and important books on chelonians are also available through NYTTS.  See the NYTTS Mail-Order Catalogue for a list of publications and other sale items.  The Children’s Poster Contest was created to help educate both children and adults concerning the plight of turtles and tortoises, why species are facing extinction, and what must be done to help save them.  See photos of 2003 poster contest winnners.

Animal Welfare:  The Society is a strong advocate of protective legislation for turtles and tortoises and actively promotes the enforcement of humane laws.  To insure that unwanted or excess animals are found good homes, an Adoption Program is maintained.  A number of our members — including some of our member-veterinarians — participate in the Society's Turtle Rehab Program, donating their time and expertise to the care and rehabilitation of injured wild turtles.  A nationwide list of veterinarians who treat turtles, has been compiled from member recommendations.

Annual Show:  Each spring, members display their animals at the Annual Turtle and Tortoise Show.  This educational event provides attendees the opportunity to examine a wide variety of species.  Informal discussions focus on the animals’ health, diet, and captive husbandry requirements.  See Annual Show photos and list of winners from the following years: 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, and 1997.

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