Turtle Island is our first conservation project.
Through our recent association with Turtle Island in Graz, Austria, part of our operation is now the entirely non-commercial maintenance of the largest and most valuable collection of turtle species on Earth. Through Turtle Island, we are also engaged in a growing number of global projects aimed at breeding and releasing endangered turtle species.
We are the sole breeder of many species otherwise extinct or in danger of extinction and not bred in captivity anywhere else on the planet. Carrying this burden, we are currently engaged in forming a large network, consisting of like-minded breeders and zoological institutions. Such network ensures the survival of our many invaluable species by distribution to many different sites.
We do consider a last living breeding pair of a species as infinitely more valuable and irreplaceable as anyone’s crown jewels or any work of art ever created and we treat our animals and responsibilities accordingly.
Of the 356 turtle-species, more than 200 are currently kept at Turtle Island. This number will grow significantly over the course of this year. It is our declared aim to breed every single extant turtle species by the end of 2022.
Our pledge to our children, to future generations, is that no single species of turtle will ever again vanish from the planet.
We do this not by conventional methods for mating-pair selection, but from the start employ high-technology genetic characterization of all our specimens and breeding pairs, including those of our current and future partners. We will be the world’s first conservation breeding institution that is systematically optimising its conservation-studbooks towards the preservation of genetic diversity through appropriate science-based, rather than unverifiable historic information.
The global focus of Ark-Biodiversity is the curbing of illegal animal trading and the establishment of a global traceability-system for the most traded species based on high-tech genetics (and therefore uses CITES-based criteria to choose focal species).
As partners of Turtle Island, we will focus our conservation efforts on those species most threatened according to the IUCN Red List. The synergy of the two complimentary approaches of Ark-Biodiversity and Turtle Island promise a great potential to prevent extinction of one of the most endangered group of animals.
Over the coming years, we will expand our efforts to include the entire classes of reptiles and amphibians, starting with those species that are either most threatened or suffer from illegal trade and inadequate breeding conditions.
We aim at shifting as much of all animal trading towards such tracing systems. These approaches will allow stakeholders in animal trades to rest assured that no single animal will ever be kept under cruel conditions, caught illegally or bred in a genetically ignorant or irresponsible manner.