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 20257 signatures
Number Date Name Location
20257 36 minutes ago toni lubka hendersonville, TN , US
20256 1 hour ago John Silk Bridgeport, CT , US
20255 1 hour ago Virginia Utt Melbourne, FL , US
20254 3 hours ago Ashley Bullard Lake Wales, FL , US
20253 4 hours ago tom gebus czestochowa, ot , PL
20252 4 hours ago Lajeanne Leveton Fleming Island, FL , US
20251 4 hours ago Elisabetta Lelli Spinetoli - AP - ITALY, ot , IT
20250 5 hours ago Karen Redd Maumelle, AR , US
20249 6 hours ago Pam Miller No. Highlands, CA , US
20248 7 hours ago Peter Seigars Concord, NH , US
20247 7 hours ago Daniel Tham Singapore, ot , SG
20246 8 hours ago Rick Tomasello Tucson, AZ , US
20245 8 hours ago Virginia Watson Los Angeles, CA , US
20244 8 hours ago Doreen Hemstock veazie, ME , US
20243 8 hours ago S. Andregg Emeryville, CA , US
20242 9 hours ago Pat Williamson Mt Arlington , NJ , US
20241 9 hours ago Ana Menjivar Santa Monica, CA , US
20240 9 hours ago Francesca Husted Woodstock, NY , US
20239 9 hours ago Jerry Rivers Roosevelt, NY , US
20238 10 hours ago Joe Merkelbach Centralia, IL , US
20237 10 hours ago Wendon Barnard Freeport, NY , US
20236 10 hours ago Sarah Vandagriff Frisco, TX , US
20235 10 hours ago mauricio carvajal Santiago, ot , CL
20234 10 hours ago Linda Kollmar Port Murray, NJ , US
20233 11 hours ago Denise Mineart Anderson, IN , US
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Photo of eastern box turtle courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Ken Thomas.

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