Happy Tortoise Day: Bonus Edition

Each Wednesday, I spend my day happily up to my elbows in tortoise turds as I volunteer in the reptile department of my zoo. It’s one of the best things I do all week. Look at the photo below (keeping in mind that it’s about three times larger than life). What’s not to love? Even when it pees on me.

One of my charges. This guy (gal?) is about the size of a golf-ball . Photo courtesy of Phil Colclough


You may already be familiar with my supervisor, Michael, who was featured in the revised edition of a wonderful children’s book. In addition to signing autographs and generally being awesome, he works closely with the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), which has undertaken a unique project. Tortoises in Madagascar are rapidly disappearing due to illegal collection for meat and for the pet trade. TSA has worked out a partnership with Antsakoamasy, a village in Madagascar. The villagers will protect the ever-dwindling population of radiated tortoises, and TSA will build a school for their children. The ultimate win:win.

The school is nearing completing and is set to open in March. What they need now are tables, benches, and school supplies for their students. Here is the exciting part. Furniture for the entire school will cost only about $1800 US dollars, and a only a few hundred more would purchase the necessary school supplies.  This is where you come in. Michael is headed to Madagascar with TSA in a few weeks to teach villages how to properly care for confiscated tortoises until the animals can be returned to the wild. I would love be able to help raise the funds before he goes.

My friends, this is an achievable goal. Every dollar will add up quickly. I think we can knock it out of the ballpark and help these kids whose families are working to help protect this precious and endangered animal.

.Important update to this project on February 29.

Adult radiated tortoise cooling off in the mid-day sun. Photo courtesy of Michael Ogle

Malagasy kids saying hey, photo courtesy of Michael Ogle

29 thoughts on “Happy Tortoise Day: Bonus Edition

  1. Oh dear, for the first time EVER I now get it, what my friend loved about her tortoises. Every day after school, the first thing she’d do was go and feed her tortoises. I felt they were hard shelled, un pettable, and I didn’t understand. But my gosh, that photo – and he’s the size of a golf ball??!!! This was a very worthwhile post. Gorgeous, too.

  2. You may know that I’m a big animal fan and I grew up as the kid that had one (two) of every species. Unfortunately, though I am not bitter, my box turtle clamped down on my finger while I was feeding him raw hamburger. Then he retracted into his shell. I remember screaming, I remember blood and I remember pliers. I’m glad smarter people like you are in charge of caring for turtles.

    What a great cause.

  3. I just landed on this article from a link provided in the recent TSA newsletter. My son and I are looking forward to visiting the Knoxville Zoo on Monday. We look forward to contributing to this wonderful project! As you said: a win-win situation both for tortoise conservation and for the villagers of Antsakoamasy. We can’t wait to see the animals you are working with.
    Thanks for all you do.

  4. Pingback: Some Pimpin’ for My Peeps | snobbery

  5. Pingback: Come In For the Cute, Hang Around to Save a Species | Becoming Cliche

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