releasing turtles into the wild

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releasing turtles into the wild

Post by gregory pokrywka » Tue, 05 Mar 1996 04:00:00



i'd like the opinion of all concerning this letter:

"....personal thing about reptiles - I have never sold a snake or
turtle. I
do trade some once in awhile and have collected specimens for large
zoos and museums but never for money. Most of my hatchlings are
released into the wild after about three years. I don't agree with
those that say you can't release captive born turtles into the wild
and
have them survive. First off I keep my turtles on natural diets of
fish, worms, aquatic plants, etc. that these young turtles would
easily
find in the wild and I usually release the young in the same area the
parents came from - hence I'm not altering the native gene pool.
  The way I see it if I hatch a dozen baby turtles and say I release
10
in the wild 3 years later (when their size provides better survival
chances) mother nature already has come out ahead because in the wild
hatchlings suffer probably higher than 90% mortality rate during the
first year......"

i'm thinking about breeding my turtles and am wondering what to do
with the babies(after solving the challenges of successful breeding).
i've always thought that captive born turtles wouln't stand much
chance of survival in the wild but this guy has some good points.
what does everyone think??

 
 
 

releasing turtles into the wild

Post by Nathan Ten » Tue, 05 Mar 1996 04:00:00


I'm leaving this thread in both groups, because I have no idea which way
it's going to evolve.



Quote:
>i'd like the opinion of all concerning this letter:

[quotes someone who breeds turtles, raises the babies on food available in
 the wild, then releases them when they're suitably headstarted in the area
 where their parents were collected]

Quote:
>i'm thinking about breeding my turtles and am wondering what to do
>with the babies(after solving the challenges of successful breeding).
>i've always thought that captive born turtles wouln't stand much
>chance of survival in the wild but this guy has some good points.
>what does everyone think??

It seems to me (and I'm talking without credentials, of course) that the
author of the letter is doing the wrong thing in the best possible way.  In
other words, if he's determined to release headstarted babies, IMHO he's
going about it in the best way an amateur herpetologist can; but I still don't
think it's a good idea.  While in his care, the babies could be picking up
any number of pathogens and carrying them into the wild, with the risk of
catastrophic consequences.  If I remember aright, this very phenomenon nearly
wiped out some populations of desert tortoises a few years ago.

My own opinion is that amateurs shouldn't be doing reintroductions except
under the auspices of a "real" reintroduction program, because of the risk
at which it puts the wild population.  That risk *may* be pretty small, but
an amateur almost by definition isn't competent to judge.  (With all due
respect to amateurs, of course---some of us are awfully well-informed, but I
wouldn't want to bet a population on it!)

        NT
--
     Nathan Tenny                    A ginger beer plant is sort of
     Qualcomm, Inc., San Diego, CA   like Azathoth.

     homepage in limbo              

 
 
 

releasing turtles into the wild

Post by Breck Bartholome » Wed, 06 Mar 1996 04:00:00


In many states it is illegal to release any animal into the wild,
including ones you caught and keep in captivity for a short time.
However besides possibly being illegal, it is not good for the turtles
of conservation, especially in the hands of an amateur.

There were some good discussions of this topic in some issues of
Herpetologica about 3 years ago. Also, Intermontanus (published by the
Utah Association of Herpetologists) had a short discussion of this. One
of the Intermontanus articles was republished in Iguana Times.

Breck

 
 
 

releasing turtles into the wild

Post by Paul A Slocom » Thu, 14 Mar 1996 04:00:00


Quote:
> One difference is that, in several states, it is illegal to release a
> captive reptile, native or not.

In California it is illegal to have the common snapper.  When a snapper is
found or confiscated the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG)
make arrangements (where possible) to ship the turtle to a someone in
Arkansas (I belive) who then releases it. I do know this is fact as I am a
past-president of the San Joaquin Herpetological Society and the Society
was asked (by CDFG in Fresno, CA) to help pay for shipping two snappers
last year.The Society did pay and the turtles were shipped and presumably
released.

Any comments on this?

Paul Slocombe

 
 
 

releasing turtles into the wild

Post by Graeme Bl » Sat, 16 Mar 1996 04:00:00


Quote:



>>>i'd like the opinion of all concerning this letter:
>>>"....personal thing about reptiles - I have never sold a snake or
>>>turtle. I
>>>do trade some once in awhile and have collected specimens for large
>>>zoos and museums but never for money. Most of my hatchlings are
>>>released into the wild after about three years. I don't agree with
>>>those that say you can't release captive born turtles into the wild
>>>and
>>>have them survive. First off I keep my turtles on natural diets of
>>>fish, worms, aquatic plants, etc. that these young turtles would
>>>easily
>>>find in the wild and I usually release the young in the same area the
>>>parents came from - hence I'm not altering the native gene pool.
>>>  The way I see it if I hatch a dozen baby turtles and say I release
>>>10
>>>in the wild 3 years later (when their size provides better survival
>>>chances) mother nature already has come out ahead because in the wild
>>>hatchlings suffer probably higher than 90% mortality rate during the
>>>first year......"
>>>i'm thinking about breeding my turtles and am wondering what to do
>>>with the babies(after solving the challenges of successful breeding).
>>>i've always thought that captive born turtles wouln't stand much
>>>chance of survival in the wild but this guy has some good points.
>>>what does everyone think??
>>   There are many problems not addressed by this individual's
>>overly-simplistic view.  The captive raised turtles do not have the
>>same chance for survival as wild hatchlings for many reasons;
>>1.  Their immune systems are not geared toward the wild environment
>>2.  They have not learned to "fear" predatory animals that they will
>>encounter, from large birds to cats to dogs, squirrels, etc.
>>3.  The caaptives will definitely not know how to forage properly and
>>will have a difficult time fattening up their first summer in order to
>>hibernate through the winter.  If they make it past their first
>>winter, their chances of long-term survival increase dramatically.
>>4.  My own experience has been that mortaliy among released captives
>>is much much higher than that of their wild counterparts.  If the
>>original author/poster wishes to discuss this at greater length, he
>>may contact me via this forum
>>It isn't easy being green...

Cherokee
I have re-read your post a number of times and I now feel you are
refering to the 3 year old captives versus wild "hatchlings" therefore
my challenging post was off the mark and out of line.  I clearly
misunderstood you the first time and I don't doubt your research or
findings.  I feel too - though it might have been unclear in my
previous post - that irresponsible release of reptiles into the wilds
by "hobbyists" is not a good idea unless under the guidance of
qualified persons engaged in a well researched reintroduction
programme.  I appologe for any irritation I might have caused
the "professionals" out there.
Graeme