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World Turtle Day® International Shellebration is May 23!

Theme “I Love Turtles!” Asks Everyone to Embrace Their Inner Turtle



Malibu, California – March 8, 2023 - American Tortoise Rescue (ATR), a nonprofit organization established in 1990 for the protection of all species of turtles and tortoises, will “shellebrate®” its 23rd international World Turtle Day® on May 23.


ATR created and launched WorldTurtleDay.org to increase respect for and knowledge about one of the world’s oldest creatures. Now observed around the globe, turtle and tortoise lovers show their appreciation of the special day by taking “shellfies” and “shellebrating” with events and shares on social media. Millions of turtle lovers in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Borneo, India, Australia, Greece and many other countries worldwide now observe the day with thousands of educational events, parties, fundraisers and more.


Susan Tellem, RN, BSN, executive director, co-founded the ATR sanctuary 33 years ago with her husband, Marshall Thompson. Together, they have rescued and rehomed thousands of turtles and tortoises and provided turtle education to turtle lovers worldwide.


“We want to have fun with World Turtle Day and make it appealing to all ages,” Tellem said. “This year’s ‘I Love Turtles’ theme features handsome turtle Mr. Mudd (featured) and encourages our worldwide audience to see turtles as amazing creatures who outlived the dinosaurs just to make us laugh and love them as much as people do with warm and fuzzy cats and dogs. They are more than just rocks with legs!”


Tellem says these sentient beings are amazing creatures that live 25, 50, 100 years or more. They feel happiness and pain, show a true sense of humor, as well as affection. Turtles have personalities just like dogs and cats. “When they are allowed to live wild in a safe environment, turtles and tortoises search for food, do funny things like walking backwards or honking, and most important, have relationships with other turtles, sometimes procreating.


Sadly, these gentle animals survived 200 million years after an asteroid destroyed most life on the planet, yet they are rapidly disappearing as a result of smuggling, habitat destruction, the cruel pet trade, and live exotic food markets domestically and internationally. About 61 percent of turtles worldwide are threatened or already extinct. According to experts, turtles are the most threatened of the major groups of vertebrates, more so than birds, mammals, and fish. Tellem says this is why education is so important in every country globally.

“Ideally, all turtles should live in the wild, but realistically this is not always possible. Too many are sold at pet stores, by street vendors, or used as prizes at carnivals and other events. Thankfully, there are many more rescues and sanctuaries now, as well as loving homes,” Tellem says. “These turtles can safely live out their long lives.”


Follow @WorldTurtleDay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to find tips for fun things to do and have the opportunity to score cool turtle items during giveaways. “Even though we can’t meet in person,” Tellem says, “We can show our love of these beautiful creatures by enjoying experiences together through social media.”

Some of the highlights to help make World Turtle Day special include:


Join the party at home or at work. ATR created a World Turtle Day Party Pack that can be accessed for free here http://bit.ly/1YwebJR.

• Join thousands of fans who are posting shellfies, videos and photos in honor of World Turtle Day.

• Follow @WorldTurtleDay on Twitter. People help the day trend on social media by posting #worldturtleday and their own photos and videos to spread the good word about turtles.

• Subscribe to our YouTube for the latest turtle and tortoise videos and ideas at www.youtube.com/americantortrescue.

Email info@tortoise.com to be added to the mailing list so you don’t miss out on any fun actives.

Authentic World Turtle Day I Love Turtles shirts and other merchandise is available for sale only through American Tortoise Rescue.


Note: Please feel free to use the logo. World Turtle Day® is trademarked as is Shellebrate®– please use registered symbol.


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