Center for Biological Diversity

Stop Catching Wild Turtles for Turtle Races

Eastern box turtle
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Turtles are dying off at an alarming pace -- rates never seen before -- under terrible pressure from habitat loss, road kill and other threats. But one of those threats could prove fairly simple to tackle: turtle races. Annual turtle races strain native turtle populations every year -- thousands of turtles are removed from the wild and raced at turtle races held in small towns across the country.

It’s easy to believe little harm is done when turtles caught, then released back into the wild after the races, but the fact is that these races can expose turtles to deadly diseases. Those diseases spread to wild populations when the turtles are released. Ranavirus is a sickness causing particular concern; it has caused widespread turtle, frog and salamander deaths in 25 states.

Many of the threats native turtles face are difficult problems to solve -- but turtle races have an easy fix. Just stop using turtles caught in the wild. Many towns already use creative substitutes for wild-caught turtles, such as river races using rubber turtles or races where people pull toy turtles on strings.

Please take action now: Sign the petition below and ask communities to stop using wild-caught turtles in their turtle races.

1-25 of 20425 signatures
Number Date Name Location
20425 15 hours ago Anonymous Easton, PA , US
20424 15 hours ago Cecilia Rivas Hermitage, TN , US
20423 22 hours ago Anonymous cleveland, OH , US
20422 23 hours ago sija sur zagreb, ot , HR
20421 1 day ago Karen Reid Santa Rosa, CA , US
20420 1 day ago briony savage edin, ot , GB
20419 1 day ago marc fried braithewaite, LA , US
20418 1 day ago Robert Fredrickson Valley Park, MO , US
20417 1 day ago Caitilin Rabbitt Liberty, NY , US
20416 1 day ago Marion Curlin Seattle, WA , US
20415 1 day ago Jennifer Miller Delaware, OH , US
20414 1 day ago Chris Powlan San Rafael , CA , US
20413 1 day ago charmaine breitengross los angeles, CA , US
20412 2 days ago Shinobu Fukushima Tokyo, ot , JP
20411 3 days ago Adil Mehta Chatsworth, CA , US
20410 4 days ago Kim Hart Des Moines, IA , US
20409 5 days ago Denise Griffin Mobile, AL , US
20408 5 days ago Imran Faisal Lanham , MD , US
20407 5 days ago Jean Perry Imperial Beach, CA , US
20406 5 days ago Jason Peckham Tiverton, RI , US
20405 5 days ago michael Jarrett Tucson, AZ , US
20404 5 days ago Anonymous Easton, PA , US
20403 6 days ago taeler dombrosky spokane, WA , US
20402 6 days ago Julie Martin Frederic, WI , US
20401 6 days ago Donna Vivado Centerville, MA , US
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Photo of eastern box turtle courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Ken Thomas.

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