General questions regarding breeding, conservation, and assurance colonies

DigitalArtDad

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So I'll try to keep this short but feel free to ask any questions.

I've recently discovered my passion for tortoises and have been trying to do as much research as humanly possible. As of right now I just own hatchlings and a 1 year old that seem to be doing wonderful. I plan on raising these first to ensure I can give them a healthy proper life before I jump to my main goal. My main and long term goal as a keeper is to breed a couple species that aren't fairing so well in the wild. Ideally I would like to be able to reintroduce some to the wild as well as donate some to zoos and other conservation groups to help them from going extinct.

I've looked into some stuff online but mainly run into regulations and laws concerning native species which aren't the species I'm looking to work with. I'm just wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction for achieving these goals in my home state Missouri. Also any advice for what I can do to achieve these goals would be very helpful and appreciated. Like a tortoise I'm in no rush and know this is a long process. Thank you all for your time and the knowledge always posted in these forums I look forward to continue learning!
 

Yvonne G

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It's my understanding that zoos don't take animals from private parties. They get their animals from AZA associated facilities. Someone correct me if I'm wrong??? Also, captive tortoises can't be 'returned' to the wild.
 

DigitalArtDad

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It's my understanding that zoos don't take animals from private parties. They get their animals from AZA associated facilities. Someone correct me if I'm wrong??? Also, captive tortoises can't be 'returned' to the wild.
Right I definitely wasn't planning on breeding a bunch of tortoises and going somewhere to release them myself lol. I understand there's complications with releasing them but I've also seen articles talk about species being reintroduced to other places such as radiated taken to different islands. Like I mentioned I'm early into this and still researching a lot and obviously need help lol. As far as zoos taking them I know there's also small conservation centers and other wildlife exhibits that have animals. I was hoping to build a report and work with them as well if possible. Assurance colonies are also a thing I've seen that I'm interested in.

I want to do this all legitimately and am not interested in breeding just to sell and make money
 

DigitalArtDad

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Right I definitely wasn't planning on breeding a bunch of tortoises and going somewhere to release them myself lol. I understand there's complications with releasing them but I've also seen articles talk about species being reintroduced to other places such as radiated taken to different islands. Like I mentioned I'm early into this and still researching a lot and obviously need help lol. As far as zoos taking them I know there's also small conservation centers and other wildlife exhibits that have animals. I was hoping to build a report and work with them as well if possible. Assurance colonies are also a thing I've seen that I'm interested in.

I want to do this all legitimately and am not interested in breeding just to sell and make money
It's my understanding that zoos don't take animals from private parties. They get their animals from AZA associated facilities. Someone correct me if I'm wrong??? Also, captive tortoises can't be 'returned' to the wild.
Also thanks for the response!
 

ZenHerper

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AZA seems to be firmly in control of zoo acquisitions.

There are a handful of programs world-wide approved to attempt re-population of certain species. Depends on the country and the species. These types of programs are very expensive and often hampered by financial hiccups.

What species are you interested in working with?
 

DigitalArtDad

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AZA seems to be firmly in control of zoo acquisitions.

There are a handful of programs world-wide approved to attempt re-population of certain species. Depends on the country and the species. These types of programs are very expensive and often hampered by financial hiccups.

What species are you interested in working with?
I figured it wouldn't be cheap and will hopefully have that covered if I can lock down this job I've been interviewing for.. fingers crossed lol. The 2 species I'm interested most in is the radiated and Egyptian. I know there's others that are endangered but wanted to focus on just a couple species so I can give them the best care and not be overwhelmed. I've seen this with a lot of keepers. Just getting my hands on radiated is a challenge in itself where I am but I'm determined and willing to put in the effort
 

wellington

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It's my understanding that zoos don't take animals from private parties. They get their animals from AZA associated facilities. Someone correct me if I'm wrong??? Also, captive tortoises can't be 'returned' to the wild.
I thought that is what Kelly used to do. Go help release captive tortoises?
I believe if you are certified or licensed, or whatever they, those that do release would call it, then you can raise for release into their natural area.
To just breed and release on your own is not legal I believe.
I may be wrong, but I do know there are people/groups that release captive raised.
 

ZenHerper

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I figured it wouldn't be cheap and will hopefully have that covered if I can lock down this job I've been interviewing for.. fingers crossed lol. The 2 species I'm interested most in is the radiated and Egyptian. I know there's others that are endangered but wanted to focus on just a couple species so I can give them the best care and not be overwhelmed. I've seen this with a lot of keepers. Just getting my hands on radiated is a challenge in itself where I am but I'm determined and willing to put in the effort
So do some general web searches for "........... Tortoise Conservation".

When you find promising results, examine whether an organization seems up to date with their web presence. Ex:

The pandemic has gutted a lot of groups and their bank accounts. Things may be slow to get back on track, but reach out to any organizations that seem relevant to your aims.

Some groups have memberships. Some memberships come with perks such as having access to a backlist of other members who swap/sell tortoises at reduced rates between each other for the sake of their assurance efforts.

Endangered species have registries where individual animals are DNA listed and tracked as breeding subjects. You'll want to research this end of it, as other serious hobbyists and organizations use the registries.

Also look into volunteering with conservation groups. The pandemic has put a halt to a lot of these types of projects, but gather info as folks get their wheels back under them this year (hopefully). If you have a local zoo, contact them about volunteering - a great way to network.
 

DigitalArtDad

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So do some general web searches for "........... Tortoise Conservation".

When you find promising results, examine whether an organization seems up to date with their web presence. Ex:

The pandemic has gutted a lot of groups and their bank accounts. Things may be slow to get back on track, but reach out to any organizations that seem relevant to your aims.

Some groups have memberships. Some memberships come with perks such as having access to a backlist of other members who swap/sell tortoises at reduced rates between each other for the sake of their assurance efforts.

Endangered species have registries where individual animals are DNA listed and tracked as breeding subjects. You'll want to research this end of it, as other serious hobbyists and organizations use the registries.

Also look into volunteering with conservation groups. The pandemic has put a halt to a lot of these types of projects, but gather info as folks get their wheels back under them this year (hopefully). If you have a local zoo, contact them about volunteering - a great way to network.
Thanks for the info. I've actually done a lot of this already and read that article lol so it's good to know I'm in the right direction. Most of the organizations I've found ask for donations but don't mention anything about assurance colonies or reintroducing captive breeds to the wild.
My main concern is legitimizing myself and the torts I hope to raise as well as getting the proper permits and licenses.
 

ZenHerper

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Thanks for the info. I've actually done a lot of this already and read that article lol so it's good to know I'm in the right direction. Most of the organizations I've found ask for donations but don't mention anything about assurance colonies or reintroducing captive breeds to the wild.
My main concern is legitimizing myself and the torts I hope to raise as well as getting the proper permits and licenses.
CB release is a controversial topic ("cb animals are diseased!" "cb animals can't cope in the wild!"). Unfortunately, for a number of species, it is the only option. Most release programs operate in the countries-of-origin.


When you are expanding your breeding groups, be sure to find animals that are part of their respective registries. Develop at least a basic grasp of genetics. Start keeping records on each individual animal in your collections.

When there are shows, go meet breeders in person. Good old fashioned leg work and hand shaking. lol

Join relevant organizations and read, read, read.
 

DigitalArtDad

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CB release is a controversial topic ("cb animals are diseased!" "cb animals can't cope in the wild!"). Unfortunately, for a number of species, it is the only option. Most release programs operate in the countries-of-origin.


When you are expanding your breeding groups, be sure to find animals that are part of their respective registries. Develop at least a basic grasp of genetics. Start keeping records on each individual animal in your collections.

When there are shows, go meet breeders in person. Good old fashioned leg work and hand shaking. lol

Join relevant organizations and read, read, read.
Thanks this information, helps a lot. I've contacted breeders around here but it seems nobody breeds radiated in Missouri that I've found so far. I'm just starting my research so hopefully that changes.

Are the DNA registries posted somewhere public online? I'm searching now and can't seem to find anything relevant.

I feel like there's a stigma or something around radiated because of how endangered they are. I've looked into cbw permits just to purchase a hatchling and realized that is apparently a lost cause at the moment unless your an AZA zoo.
 

Jan A

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Thanks this information, helps a lot. I've contacted breeders around here but it seems nobody breeds radiated in Missouri that I've found so far. I'm just starting my research so hopefully that changes.

Are the DNA registries posted somewhere public online? I'm searching now and can't seem to find anything relevant.

I feel like there's a stigma or something around radiated because of how endangered they are. I've looked into cbw permits just to purchase a hatchling and realized that is apparently a lost cause at the moment unless your an AZA zoo.
I have no experience in captive-bred torts on the brink of extinction. I think you have to analyze part of your research in categories like what is the State of Missouri's intent with respect to endangered torts vs the Federal government's intent. That is always going to govern what you can do in what I presume to be a conservation effort to preserve a species going extinct.

You have to know where the "political" fervor is headed in your state for endangered species non-native to your state & this country. For the Feds, that's an entirely different discussion. I say this because even on this forum, there are so many threads about permitting, transporting, owning, etc. "Reptiles" in every state, federally & internationally.

You really have to be very clear on what the regs, rule making & laws are & keep on top of it. Just a homeowners association can derail you without a county or city commission coming into it.

All I can say is good luck & don't be stupid. I look forward to hearing about your journey.
 

ZenHerper

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Thanks this information, helps a lot. I've contacted breeders around here but it seems nobody breeds radiated in Missouri that I've found so far. I'm just starting my research so hopefully that changes.

Are the DNA registries posted somewhere public online? I'm searching now and can't seem to find anything relevant.

I feel like there's a stigma or something around radiated because of how endangered they are. I've looked into cbw permits just to purchase a hatchling and realized that is apparently a lost cause at the moment unless your an AZA zoo.
 

DigitalArtDad

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I have no experience in captive-bred torts on the brink of extinction. I think you have to analyze part of your research in categories like what is the State of Missouri's intent with respect to endangered torts vs the Federal government's intent. That is always going to govern what you can do in what I presume to be a conservation effort to preserve a species going extinct.

You have to know where the "political" fervor is headed in your state for endangered species non-native to your state & this country. For the Feds, that's an entirely different discussion. I say this because even on this forum, there are so many threads about permitting, transporting, owning, etc. "Reptiles" in every state, federally & internationally.

You really have to be very clear on what the regs, rule making & laws are & keep on top of it. Just a homeowners association can derail you without a county or city commission coming into it.

All I can say is good luck & don't be stupid. I look forward to hearing about your journey.
Don't be stupid, got it. Possibly the best advice yet lol.

I plan on staying far away from HOA those people are the worst. No offense to any HOA people out there...
 

2turtletom

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It's my understanding that zoos don't take animals from private parties. They get their animals from AZA associated facilities. Someone correct me if I'm wrong??? Also, captive tortoises can't be 'returned' to the wild.
There's a movie recently release that showed this
I figured it wouldn't be cheap and will hopefully have that covered if I can lock down this job I've been interviewing for.. fingers crossed lol. The 2 species I'm interested most in is the radiated and Egyptian. I know there's others that are endangered but wanted to focus on just a couple species so I can give them the best care and not be overwhelmed. I've seen this with a lot of keepers. Just getting my hands on radiated is a challenge in itself where I am but I'm determined and willing to put in the effort
Radiated tortoises are well represented in captive collections - but Egyptians certainly would be a good one to work with. They're small, and critically, critically endangered, much more so than radiateds. Get to know Ralph Till if you haven't already. As far as zoos go, when the world to only a handful of individuals of a certain species left period, zoos and other conservations aren't going to worry about where they come from..... There are many species that really need our help. If you have any interest in Kinixys, we have a wonderful working group and Kinixys homeana, in particular, needs help in captivity. They are critically endangered in the wild, are regularly consumed as bush meat, and still imported and available. But not for long....

-Tom
 

DigitalArtDad

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There's a movie recently release that showed this

Radiated tortoises are well represented in captive collections - but Egyptians certainly would be a good one to work with. They're small, and critically, critically endangered, much more so than radiateds. Get to know Ralph Till if you haven't already. As far as zoos go, when the world to only a handful of individuals of a certain species left period, zoos and other conservations aren't going to worry about where they come from..... There are many species that really need our help. If you have any interest in Kinixys, we have a wonderful working group and Kinixys homeana, in particular, needs help in captivity. They are critically endangered in the wild, are regularly consumed as bush meat, and still imported and available. But not for long....

-Tom
If you remember the movie let me know I would live to check it out. Thats interesting I would think Egyptians would be more well represented than radiated. Especially since they are easier to obtain and can be sold across state lines while radiated cannot without the cbw permit. I chose these two species because they interested me the most but I have considered hingebacks and a couple others as well. At the rate we are going there's going to be a lot of endangered and extinct species, it's a shame.
I've seen Ralph on YouTube when researching husbandry for mine. It's funny I feel like I would just "fangirl" talking to a lot of these people. I figured I would wait until I got more experience under my belt before trying to reach out to them lol

Thank you very helpful feedback
 

Markw84

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So I'll try to keep this short but feel free to ask any questions.

I've recently discovered my passion for tortoises and have been trying to do as much research as humanly possible. As of right now I just own hatchlings and a 1 year old that seem to be doing wonderful. I plan on raising these first to ensure I can give them a healthy proper life before I jump to my main goal. My main and long term goal as a keeper is to breed a couple species that aren't fairing so well in the wild. Ideally I would like to be able to reintroduce some to the wild as well as donate some to zoos and other conservation groups to help them from going extinct.

I've looked into some stuff online but mainly run into regulations and laws concerning native species which aren't the species I'm looking to work with. I'm just wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction for achieving these goals in my home state Missouri. Also any advice for what I can do to achieve these goals would be very helpful and appreciated. Like a tortoise I'm in no rush and know this is a long process. Thank you all for your time and the knowledge always posted in these forums I look forward to continue learning!
One of the best things you could do is attend the annual conference of the TTPG in Mesa AZ the 3rd week of November. A day of field trips and 2 days of talks. Lots of after hour conversations. You will learn a ton and make the best possible connections with some of the best breeders/keepers in the world. Many of the names you see here on the forum will be there.
 

2turtletom

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If you remember the movie let me know I would live to check it out.
s interesting I would think Egyptians would be more well represented than radiated. Especially since they are easier to obtain and can be sold across state lines while radiated cannot without the cbw permit. I chose these two species because they interested me the most but I have considered hingebacks and a couple others as well. At the rate we are going there's going to be a lot of endangered and extinct species, it's a shame.
I've seen Ralph on YouTube when researching husbandry for mine. It's funny I feel like I would just "fangirl" talking to a lot of these people. I figured I would wait until I got more experience under my belt before trying to reach out to them lol

Thank you very helpful feedback
There are sooooo many radiateds being produced compared to Egyptians. They're really easy to obtain, and they're really quite common in the wild. If they weren't common, then poachers wouldn't be able to collect 10,000 of them and put them in a house. The reason why they are listed as an endangered species because they are commercially exploitable and people are poaching them left and right, and there is huge POTENTIAL for them to become extinct in the wild if things keep going the way they are going. But in the U.S., they are firmly established, many people are breeding them, and I imagine it's a challenge for some people to sell their offspring because the market is their state only. Egyptians aren't very fecund, very few people are working with them, and they are nearly extirpated in the wild. Of those two, I'd definitely recommend Egyptians. And they're small too!

-Tom
 

DigitalArtDad

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One of the best things you could do is attend the annual conference of the TTPG in Mesa AZ the 3rd week of November. A day of field trips and 2 days of talks. Lots of after hour conversations. You will learn a ton and make the best possible connections with some of the best breeders/keepers in the world. Many of the names you see here on the forum will be there.
Marking my calendar and looking into this it sounds awesome thanks!
 
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