In honor of Earth Day, John Leguizamo, Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber, Ted Danson and others came together in a new public service announcement (PSA), to promote awareness for the plight of endangered turtles and tortoises.
The PSA was organized by The Turtle Conservancy, an organization that is dedicated to protecting the most endangered turtles and tortoises and their habitats worldwide. According to their website, The Turtle Conservancy is “the premiere facility for breeding critically endangered turtles and tortoises in the world. Our conservation breeding program now includes 32 species of turtles and tortoises, with 12 of the ‘Top 40 Most Endangered’ according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group.”
Turtles are the most threatened vertebrates on earth. Turtles were on this planet during the dinosaur age and managed to outlive these great creatures, but now they are facing their own extinction crisis.
The Turtle Conservancy claims that the “Golden Coin Turtle” is on the brink of extinction as a result of being used in traditional Chinese medicine. Although the Chinese see the turtles as valuable products that are worth their weight in gold, Watts sees them as stunningly beautiful and living creatures. “He is really pretty,” said the actress. “Look at the gold detail in there,” she added.
There are many other species of turtles and tortoises that are nearing extinction. The strikingly beautiful “Radiated Tortoise” is consumed by local people in its home in Madagascar, and is close to becoming extinct. Also, the strange and unique, but critically endangered “Roti Island Snake-necked Turtle” may already be extinct in the wild.
Hopefully, lessons will be learned before it is too late, and these magnificent creatures will be saved before they no longer grace this earth. Schreiber asks everyone “Do you hear that?” He says “[t]hat is thank you in turtle.” The turtle is thanking us for listening, and working towards saving his life, and others of his species.
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