as a member of the British Chelonia Group, I read in your newsletter no. 187 that you will send money from your 2009 conservation appeal to the Centro Carapax for the building of a new nursery for tortoise hatchlings, which will stay there till they are large enough to be safe from predators and will ”eventually be released in special designed areas where they will hopefully sustain viable tortoise populations”. I want to tell you, that I am very concerned about this, as are many other chelonian specialists.
The German Herpetological Society and the German Chelonia Group have grave concerns and oppose the practice of releasing or introducing non-native captive turtles or tortoises into environments with native chelonians. The GCG made an appeal to stop this practice in 2001 during its Leipzig meeting, which was supported by the most prominent German and European experts in chelonian biology and systematics.
Our main concerns are:
Loss of genetic authenticity of wild populations.
Introduction of diseases into the wild populations.
Because my English is not good enough to express the reasons for our concerns I attach a presentation and a letter I and the German Chelonia Group fully support! I could not express it better"!
Member IUCN SSC TFTSG
Member executive committee German Herpetological Society
Member executive committee German Chelonia Group