Turtles and tortoises pre-date dinosaurs. It’s a fascinating fact about the long-lived creatures, that their species have survived this long, however, the fate of the reptile is now in question.
The animals are threatened with extinction due to illegal trade.
It’s on that subject that Dr. Chris R. Sheperd, of Big Lake Ranch, will be speaking on at a free evening event on Wednesday, April 11 at 7 p.m. at the Scout Island Nature House.
Sheperd has been working in Southeast Asia on wildlife trade related issues for the past 25 years, 20 of which he has spent with TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.
His research centres on a wide variety of species groups, including mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, as well as the legal and illegal trade dynamics, and the impact trade may have on wild populations.
Sheperd has only recently returned to Canada.
With the organization he founded, MONITOR, he continues to research the global wildlife trade to support policy, enforcement and other conservation interventions.
His presentation on tortoises and freshwater turtles will be grounded in Sheperd’s experience and research.
The reptiles are among the most heavily traded, and thereby most threatened, of animals involved in illegal wildlife trade, according to Sheperd, and are traded for their shells, used in traditional medicines, their meat, for consumption, and live, as pets.
To learn more about this trade, and about Sheperd’s experience working in Southeast Asia at the heart of the crisis, check out his free presentation on April 11.