________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 9 . . . . January 6, 2006


Turtle Rescue: Changing the Future for Endangered Wildlife. (Firefly Animal Rescue).

Pamela Hickman.
Richmond Hill, ON: Firefly Books, 2005.
64 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 1-55297-915-6.

Subject Headings:
Turtles-Juvenile literature.
Endangered species-Juvenile literature. Wildlife conservation-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-10 / Ages 10-15.

Review by Gillian Richardson.

***½ /4


Their [Caribbean Conservation Corporation] hard work is paying off, though. CCC helped get sea turtles officially listed - and protected - as endangered species in the United States and internationally, and they're making sure countries such as Cuba, Cayman Islands and Japan do not resume the trade in hawksbills. They have eliminated turtle slaughterhouses in South America, and fought to protect breeding beaches for green turtles. In 2003, after years of lobbying, CCC and other environmental groups convinced the US to pass a law requiring shrimp trawlers to include larger holes in their nets, which will prevent thousands of unnecessary sea turtle deaths.


Continuing in the award-winning style of the first five books in this series, Turtle Rescue describes the current situation for some of the 270 species of endangered turtles worldwide. Following a one-page introduction which offers fascinating details such as the turtles' 20 million year existence and its prominent role in many cultures, we learn from a map that turtles inhabit almost every type of environment except Earth's polar regions. Even this diversity cannot ensure their survival today, though, in the face of severe habitat destruction, pollution, the pet trade, medicinal use and the fact that their slow and predictable habits make them so easy to capture. Although conservation programs have been in place since 1959, only recently (1999) has satellite tracking been employed and (2003) legislation requiring escape mechanisms from shrimp nets been put in place. Ironically, the 2005 tsunami made it possible for olive ridley turtles to nest on a Malaysian beach for the first time in almost a decade.

     The book zooms in on several critical habitat areas and the programs underway there: a rescue centre in Vietnam that emphasizes involvement of local people, efforts in a couple of Caribbean locations to ensure available nesting sites for sea turtles, collection and incubation of eggs from road killed turtles in New Jersey, protection of nests from predators in Nova Scotia, rehabilitation of injured turtles at a Hong Kong centre to replace losses from third world egg harvesting and a captive breeding program for plowshare turtles in Madagascar. Recognition is given to individual volunteers and those dedicated to education, a crucial facet of the work since the longevity of turtles means results may not be obvious in the short term. These glimpses into the day-to-day work of scientists as well as ordinary people bring home the vital nature of supreme efforts to save creatures that go about their lives in a slow and silent way. A list of websites for conservation organizations allow the reader to learn more about and support these initiatives.

With clear, appealing photography and up-to-the-minute details laid out in an engaging format, Turtle Rescue is a welcome addition to the “Firefly Animal Rescue” series. The author's extensive work in children's nature writing is well-known.

Highly Recommended.

A BC resident, Gillian Richardson is a freelance writer and former teacher-librarian.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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