2004/6 EAZA Shellshock

Turtles and tortoises have been around for almost 250 million years. Yet now, in the space of less than thirty years, they are being wiped from the face of the planet. Man has exploited turtles and tortoises for centuries – for their supposed medicinal value, and as a source of protein. However, the ‘open door policy’ of China’s economic reforms, and the liberalization of foreign trade, has escalated the trade and consumption of turtles and tortoises to an unsustainable, fatal degree.


The problem is not confined to the mass trade in China and the South-East Asian region. Throughout the world, turtle and tortoise habitats are being degraded, fragmented, destroyed, and developed.  
The current IUCN red list shows that, of the currently recognized 265 species of tortoise and freshwater turtle: 

  • 8 species are listed as Extinct or Extinct in the Wild
  • 25 species are Critically Endangered
  • 46 species are Endangered
  • 8 species are listed as Extinct or Extinct in the Wild


All seven marine turtle species are also listed by IUCN.
It is humans that are driving many species to the point of extinction. It is humans that must act now to save them.

Mission Targets 

This campaign had three mission targets designed to meet the needs of all participating institutions, whether currently keeping turtles and tortoises or not and importantly whether there are opportunities for fundraising or not. 
The mission targets were, 
Increase public awareness
As an organization all BIAZA members were involved in raising awareness of the threats faced by many species to their continued survival in the wild. Many of our members have developed successful methods to convey this information to the public and we hope that they will use these methods to raise awareness throughout this campaign. There is an info pack available to all EAZA members which includes a CD-ROM, containing hundreds of very useful pictures, and logos, which can be used by participants to customize their own interpretative material. A number of people have pledged their support to the Shellshock campaign, including recognizable filmmakers Nigel Marven and Mark O'Shea. Participants can use quotes and pictures of these celebrities, as well as other supporters and organizations in their own campaigns.
Another major coup for the campaign has been permission from Aardman Animations to use Oscar the Turtle as the campaign mascot. Oscar the Turtle was one of the stars of the successful Creature Comforts® series. Images of Oscar the Turtle can be used on interpretative material once a simple Aardman Animations license form has been completed and returned by fax to Aardman Animations.   
Participation in captive assurance populations
The campaign organizers (with the help of the Turtle Survival Alliance and Turtle Conservation Fund) identified 36 priority species of freshwater turtle and tortoise that require captive assurance populations. These 36 species are divided into three alert categories, Black alert (6 species), Amber alert (15 species) and Red alert (15 Species). Participants who do not currently hold these species are urged to consider doing so. The 2003 BIAZA annual species inventories show that our members held at least 58 species of freshwater turtle and tortoise. Only 5 of those are included in the Black alert list, 9 in the Amber alert list and 3 in the Red alert list. It would be great if we could see our participation in captive assurance populations for these species increase during 2004 and 2005. If any of our members are interested in any of the 36 priority species then you will need to complete the reservist list registration form (found in the campaign info pack) and return it to Kevin Buley, Shellshock campaign organizer [email protected].  
The initial target for this year's campaign was a very modest €150,000 (see Shellshock results). 
A number of fundraising ideas were suggested in the info pack, designed to both raise awareness and funds at the same time. These included “guess the weight” of the tortoise, charity balls, face painting/badge making, and art sales. An auction was held during the EAZA annual conference hosted by Bristol zoo to raise extra money. Dedicated Shellshock merchandise was available, and included T-shirts and greetings cards (available from BIAZA Commercial Associate “Something Different”), as well as pencils, rulers and mouse mats (made from recycled material) featuring Oscar the Turtle, the Shellshock campaign mascot. 
As with previous campaigns there are targets (and certificates) for each participant to aim towards. These are Bronze (€2,000), Silver (€5,000), Gold (€10,000) and Platinum (€20,000). New to this years campaign are special awards for the most innovative and original education program, significant achievements in captive breeding, most innovative and imaginative fundraising idea and most remarkable new tortoise or turtle exhibit.




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