EAZA Turtle & Tortoise Campaign
Aiming to raise awareness of the plight of turtles and tortoises, EAZA brought its fourth annual conservation campaign to life in 2004: 'Shellshock'. It is estimated that over 12 million turtles are sold in China each year, either for consumption or for the traditional Chinese medicine trade. Many of these animals will have been wild caught, and given the low reproductive and growth rate of many species their extinction in the wild is thus inevitable unless action is taken.The two main goals of the campaign were as follows:
- to raise awareness of the diabolical conservation and welfare crisis that the world's turtles and tortoises face; and
- to encourage zoos and aquariums to work with more specimens and species of turtle and tortoise and to bring them into the safety of a 'turtle ark' - a captive insurance population.
- 134 institutions participated;
- Over €250,000 were collected in the first year; and
- A further €120,000 were raised since the closure of the campaign, also used to support conservation projects for turtles and tortoise.
Shellshock was the largest ever conservation effort for turtles and tortoises. The fundraising results provided great opportunities to support conservation projects. The many awareness activities placed turtles and tortoises and their conservation crisis in the minds of zoo visitors and beyond.
The first €9,000 collected went straight to a small Sri Lankan community that had been severely affected by the tsunami in Asia in December 2004. The whole community was totally dependent on turtle conservation activities for their livelihood through the Turtle Conservation Project (TCP).
A total of twelve conservation projects with a focus on Asian countries were subsequently supported with grants from Shellshock and they can be outlined as follows:
- Leatherback Ocean Wanderer, Gabon
- Royal Chitwan National Park Turtle Conservation Project (ZSL), Nepal
- Turtle breeding facilities in the Angkor Centre for the Conservation of Biodiversity (Munster), Cambodia
- Madras Crocodile Bank Trust - Deori headstart facilities, India
- Conservation International - South-East Asian capacity building, South-East Asia
- KATALA foundation - Facilities for S. leytensis, Philippines
- WCS - B. baska project, Cambodia
- Marine Turtle Project Cabo Delgado (ZSL), Mozambique
- Captive breeding project for ploughshare tortoise (Jersey), Madagascar
- Endemic Cuora sp. research project (Munster), China
- Malacochersus tornieri research project, Tanzania
All further donations were distributed within the framework of the Turtle Conservation Fund.
For overviews of funds distributed both directly by the Shellshock campaign team and via the TCF download the documents above to the right.
Oscar the Turtle, the Shellshock mascot
Creature Comforts © Aardman Animations 2003
EAZA Shellshock Fact Sheet
Shellshock grants - Aug 2006
TCF grants from Shellshock funds - Aug 2007
The Turtle Conservation Fund
Turtle Conservation Project Sri Lanka