Every year on May 23rd, World Turtle Day is observed to promote awareness of the value of turtle and their conservation. The American Tortoise Rescue, a nonprofit organization that works to safeguard and conserve turtles and tortoises worldwide, was established this day in 2000. Turtles have existed on the planet for over 200 million years and have also endured significant occurrences like the extinction of the dinosaurs. However, human activities like loss of habitat, poaching, and pollution pose threats to turtles. The purpose of World Turtle Day is to raise awareness of the value of turtles and to motivate people to take protective measures.

History of World Turtle Day

In 2000, the American Tortoise Rescue organization held the first World Turtle Day celebration. Marshall Thompson and Susan Tellem established this nonprofit organization in 1990 with the goal of preserving and protecting turtles and tortoises. World Turtle Day was conceived as a means of bringing attention to the numerous dangers that these creatures face. Tellem and Thompson thought that establishing a special day for turtles and tortoises would assist to raise public awareness and encourage people to take action to conserve them. World Turtle Day has gained popularity since its start and is currently observed in many nations. Numerous zoos, aquariums, and other organizations that support turtle conservation efforts observe the day.

The Importance of Turtles in Ecosystems

Ecosystem equilibrium is critically important to the survival of turtles. They support the management of snails, insects, and other small animal populations. Through their droppings, turtles contribute to the ecosystem by spreading seeds and nutrients. The survival of coral reefs depends on certain turtle species, including the leatherback turtle. In ecology, turtles and tortoises are essential components. They assist in maintaining wholesome rivers and ecosystems by controlling aquatic vegetation and acting as prey for other animals. Additionally, the dispersal of seeds depends on turtles and tortoises. Some types of turtles consume fruits along with other plant matter, and they then excrete in various places. This encourages plant growth and diversity by dispersing seeds and other nutrients across the ecosystem.

The Significance of Turtles in Various Cultures

Many cultures all over the world hold respect for turtles. According to Hindu mythology, the turtle, which represents endurance, stability, and perseverance, is Lord Vishnu's second avatar. The turtle is a representation of Mother Earth and the cycle between life, death, and rebirth in Native American culture. The turtle is a representation of insight and longevity in Chinese mythology. Turtles are valued as a food and medicine source in various civilizations. The populations of turtles have decreased as a result of the overexploitation of them for these uses. Since they first appeared more than 200 million years ago, turtles and tortoises have endured numerous major extinctions. Unfortunately, the loss of habitat due to hunting, pollution, and other factors has put many turtle populations in danger. The goal of World Turtle Day is to raise awareness of conservation initiatives that will support the survival of these historic species for future generations.

Threats to Turtle Populations

There are many risks to turtles posed by human activity. In the wild, there are several dangers that turtles and tortoises have to prevent.

·         Turtles are vulnerable to hunting and poaching, and habitat destruction and fragmentation are significant issues because human activity destroys natural habitats and limits turtle migration.

·         The meat and shells of numerous turtle species are sought for use in traditional treatments and for sale as souvenirs.

·         Pollution is still another significant hazard to turtles and tortoises, even though it is frequently prohibited and nevertheless flourishes in many regions of the world.

·         These animals are particularly vulnerable to plastic pollution because they can readily mistake it for food and absorb it. This may result in digestive tract obstructions, which may be fatal.

Ways to Help Protect Turtles

Individuals can contribute in a variety of ways to the conservation of turtles and tortoises. Several easy actions include:

Supporting conservation organizations: Supporting these organizations via donations or volunteer labor can have a significant impact. There are numerous organizations committed to saving turtles and tortoises.

Reducing plastic use: Turtles as well as other marine species can be protected from the damaging impacts of plastic pollution by using less plastic and properly discarding plastic trash.

Keeping wild turtles in the wild: Wild turtle capture for pet purposes may be a factor in reducing turtle numbers. Instead, people can enjoy seeing turtles in the wild or think about adopting a turtle that has been rescued by a trustworthy group.

Educating others: Educating people about the significance of turtle conservation and exchanging knowledge

Ways to Celebrate World Turtle Day

World Turtle Day can be observed in a variety of ways, and you can assist turtle conservation by doing so. Here are some suggestions:

·         Increase your knowledge regarding turtles and their environments.

·         Aid organizations that work to safeguard turtles and their natural environments.

·         Use less plastic to aid in reducing pollution from plastics.

·         Take part in an ocean cleanup to preserve the areas where turtles nest clean.

·         Raise awareness on social media regarding turtle conservation.

·         Hold a collection drive or fundraiser to aid turtle conservation initiatives.

·         Pay a visit to a turtle rehabilitation facility.


The purpose of World Turtle Day is to promote turtle conservation and the value of these creatures. It is critical that we act to conserve turtles since they are essential to maintaining the harmony of ecosystems. Turtle populations can be preserved for future generations if we support conservation efforts and minimize our negative effects on their environments.

About the Author:

Muhammad Qasim is a student of MPhil Environmental Sciences at GCUF. He is passionate about research and environmental sustainability.

Nimra Ather is a student of MPhil Zoology at UAF. She is passionate about the conservation of biodiversity.

Qudrat Ullah is a student of MPhil at GCUF.