Schildpadden in opvang Faunawatch

Housing of the turtles

According to estimates, 200,000 turtles have been released into nature in the Netherlands. These turtles often starve slowly (over years). This takes so long because of a turtle’s slow metabolism. The turtles also pose a threat to the local flora and fauna. The problem is therefore enormous and reception capacity is therefore very important.

To ensure the well-being of the turtles, we believe it is important to take Brambell’s 5 freedoms as a basis for the well-being of the animals in our shelter. These 5 freedoms are internationally recognized as the basis for good well-being.

Relatively little research is done into the welfare of turtles compared to regular pets and farm animals. That also means that we know little about turtle behavior, physiology and the like. However, we are convinced that the mental well-being of the turtles is also very important. For example, it has recently been shown that fish have feelings when they see another fish being killed. Such things are increasingly being demonstrated and the emotional and general development of animals often turns out to be much greater than previously thought. This will certainly also be the case with turtles.

“Ethological needs” have been described for many pets. These are behaviors that an animal must be able to exhibit in order to be in good well-being. Turtles will certainly also have “ethological needs”, just like all other animals, but unfortunately these are not precisely described. In any case, it is important that they live in a challenging environment.

Approximately 200,000 turtles have been released into the wild,therefore we need an enormous amount of shelter capacity.

Given the climate in the countries where the tortoises are naturally present (Mexico and North America), it is best to keep the tortoises at a temperature of at least 20 degrees Celsius. Because a lot of turtles need shelter, a shelter cannot be realized indoors. Also, keeping such large groups of turtles indoors causes many respiratory problems. That is why it is decided to keep the turtles outside in a controlled manner. The temperature cannot be regulated in this case. However, sheltering outside has many other benefits. To reduce the risks, we will ensure that the turtles remain healthy by having them undergo a health check before and after the winter. The turtles are being clinically examined. By means of a chip we can identify the turtles and therefore also track their weight over time, for example. Only healthy turtles and tortoises that are large enough are allowed to hibernate outside. Others will spend the winter in a foster home, where they can sit inside warmed up and continue to recuperate. Turtles that would have lost too much weight after the winter will also be set aside so that extra focus can be put on strengthening. Newly arrived turtles will be quarantined and additionally monitored. They will also be examined clinically and parasiticly.

Outside we can offer the turtles sufficient space. There is a continuous air flow, resulting in far fewer diseases. We can also provide a diversified environment, so that the turtles are also challenged. In this way we can give the turtles the best possible care under the current circumstances. The turtles have access to 7 large ponds with a total of 150.000L of water. Between the ponds there are areas of sand and grass where the turtles can sunbathe. In addition, there are 4 quarantine ponds, 20 quarantine tanks and 2 filter ponds.

Fauna watch Since 2012, Faunawatch has been committed to the welfare of animals and the protection of animals through activities, education and actions. Characteristics of Faunawatch: commitment to endangered species, locally and internationallt, involving young people, flat organization, independent, not accepting dubious donations and taking into account that animals and people can live together.