The British Chelonia Group ran an appeal for the Carapax centre
in 2002, and subsequently in 2003.In addition, appeal money from 2001 was also
committed. The total raised was in excess of £25,000. The idea was to
have a terrapin sanctuary in the form of a lake built in sunny Tuscany, where
unwanted terrapins from the UK and Europe could live out their days. Hundreds
of terrapins, many much loved pets, were sent out from the UK, generating further
finances of £25 each to the centre from 2002. This despite the fact that
no lake would be constructed for a further 5 years.
Things the BCG main committee has been slow to tell its members:
Carapax was in dispute over the land leased by them in 1999, three years
before funds were raised by the BCG for them see
article No planning permission was ever given for the proposal of a terrapin
Carapax was first asked to leave the Tuscany site in 1999.
The BCG conservation officer at that time refused to head-up the project (see
letter) He has recently claimed that this was only because of 'logistical
issues' Judge for yourself (Langton
memo to chairman)
The BCG PRO and Deputy director of terrapin projects at that time criticised
the project as unworkable (see
Issues over the land, and its use came to a head in 2009 when the Italian
authorities brought to a climax their court action against the Carapax head,
Despite this, a further appeal for more money was launched by the BCG for
2009 for CARAPAX Now called TORTUCA, but headed up by the same man)
Mr Paul Eversfield, eminent amateur herpetologist , Mr Roman Muryn, candidate
for BCG Chairman,(See his Powerpoint presented
at 2009 AGM) and Mrs Maggie Coleman (long standing fund raiser for the BCG)
were all removed as BCG members for voicing their concerns over this issue.
Mrs Coleman won a common law case against the BCG in August 2010 for their
actions against her. See
Concerns were also raised by the Tortoise Trust (see
Flood and drought affect the Carapax site, alternately releasing terrapins
into the wild when they are washed away, or leaving them to die in shallow
over heated pools when the water dries up. (see
picture) Note: if a donkey can access the island, how shallow is the lake,
and how did it get in?
As a result of the court case Dr.Ballasina is removed from the site.His lease
has been ended.
Dr Ballasina has been fined (10,000 e ) and has been given suspended sentence
for keeping rare chelonia without the required paperwork.
All of the rarer animals from Carapax are were removed to other locations
by Dr Ballasina but have since been found and confiscated by the Italian Authorities.
Many of the terrapins sent to the two tuscan lake projects (Carapax) are now
dead or dying. A bio hazard alert has been issued by the local authorities
picture) (see picture)
Concerns have been raised by many eminent scientists
over the CARAPAX/TORTUCA schemes.
Five questions you might ask the BCG main Committee:
1) Why are the BCG so insistent on funding this organisation (CARAPAX/RANA/TORTUCA))
when it clearly has no conservational aims, and its head, Dr Ballasina has
2) Why is the Chairman and Vice-Chair denying that Dr. Ballasina has done
anything wrong, even to this day, and that the court coase is still being
3) Why are dissenting and questioning voices raised over this issue being
silenced by having their membership removed?
4) Why has the BCG not given any update (even as to its total) of the 2009
appeal in the Newsletter. All mention of it has simply vanished
5) Why will the BCG committee not answer questions on Carapax when raised
by members- re: 2011 AGM
NOTE: The BCG have now turned themselves into a Company limited by Guarantee,
shifting some of any potential financial liabilities onto its members, whilst
reducing the BCG trustees (now called Directors) own liability.
Could this be a response to the Italian Authorities determination to find
a culprit for this environmental disaster in Italy?