The Turtle Ark
One of the world's most endangered groups of animals, which have existed on earth for over 200 million years, are turtles. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group reports that over 60% of the world's turtle species are threatened with extinction. It is human progress that has caused the turtles to decline. Forests and streams are vacuumed in search of turtles to sell as pets or as delicacies. Their habitats disappear when forests are cut down, wetlands ditched and rivers dammed. The situation is most acute in Asia, where all of the nearly 100 turtle species are endangered. Of species that were once numerous in lakes and river systems, today only a few hundred individuals exist, sometimes as few as a few dozen. To preserve some of the world's most endangered turtles, Nordens Ark started the project On the edge of extinction - an Ark for the world's turtles. Through the project, Nordens Ark is building a unique breeding center and creating insurance populations where some of the world's most vulnerable species can find refuge and reproduce for future releases. The project also aims to create conditions for long-term survival in the species' original environments by building cooperation with local organizations and authorities.
What does Nordens Ark do?
Nordens Ark's breeding center An Ark for the world's turtles will be home to several of the world's most endangered turtle species with a special focus on large and more space-consuming species from Asia. The situation for many of these species is acute. Improving the situation in the wild will take a long time and for some species time is running out. The only solution to ensure their survival is to keep insurance populations in breeding facilities. Insurance populations are managed through strict breeding programs in collaboration between different actors in order to maintain as much genetic variation as possible. The ultimate goal is to be able to re-implant species in protected areas within their former distribution areas in the future. This presupposes that the threats have been handled and that adequate protective measures are in place. The project will, in collaboration with local organizations and authorities, initiate and support nature conservation measures to preserve / re-establish wild populations. Without a insurance population, intensive work with authorities and local people regarding nature conservation measures and information, the species will never be able to be returned to their natural environment.
Our work focuses on the following strategic areas:
- To drive and participate in insurance populations in order to be able to return species to the wild in the future
- To preserve species within their natural range
- To inform and engage children and adults in the work of conserving turtles
NEWS ABOUT THE PROJECT
March 22 2023
Turtle sculptures in the making
There was a greeting from our fantastic turtle artist Ellen Ljungqvist. As you can see, she is in full swing with the mosaic sculptures for the Turtle Ark. Great fun watching them grow. Here she has sculpted the frame for them in stable cellular plastic. We look forward with excitement to more reports and of course to see them on site in the summer.
"Little Turtle" by Fool
March 10 2023
Asia's largest hard-shelled turtle moves in
During the day, a Malaysian giant turtle from Bristol zoo arrived at Nordens Ark, a Malaysian giant turtle (Orlitia borneoensis). Malaysian giant turtle are complicated to reproduce as both males and females tend to be aggressive towards each other during mating. Nordens Ark will therefore put a lot of focus on the breeding work as it is of great importance to build up a stable population of the species if it is to be saved from extinction.
February 22 2023
Four Indochinese box turtles arrive at Nordens Ark
Today there are very few individuals of Indochinese box turtles (Cuora galbinifrons) left in the wild. The species is found in high altitude, moist forests in northern Vietnam, Laos and on the island of Hainan in China. It is a terrestrial species and eats everything from insects and worms to fruit.
Nordens Ark will be one of the few facilities in Europe that holds the species. Together we are now fighting for the survival of the species.
The interior takes shape
With the roof, windows and doors installed, work on the TurtleArks has now moved indoors. At the moment, the foundations of both terrariums and aquariums are being built. In the coming weeks, our new sponsor Ecofoam will start to apply a durable waterproofing layer in the facility.
November 1 2022
Elongated tortoise arrives
In the last 90 years, the number of elongated tortoise (Indotestudo elongata) has decreased by 80% in the wild and is now critically endangered. The illegal trade in wild animals and the turtles being caught for food and medicine are the main reasons why the situation is acute today. The species is found in South and Southeast Asia and lives in mountain areas with deciduous forest and dense ground vegetation, where it eats soft leaves and fruits. Turtles have existed on Earth for more than 200 million years and today 60% of them are threatened with extinction. Right now the construction of the new Tortoise Ark is in full swing and in the summer the longated tortoise will move in.
October 3 2022
The solar panels are installed
An important part of the work with the TurtleArk is the installation of solar panels. Anders and Sebastian from Yokk Solar have already finished the roof of the TurtleArk and now the Farm roof awaits.
March 23 2022
The foundation of the building is laid
The morning mist was dense when the builders started pouring the cement for the foundation of the new turtle house.
* * *
February 10 2022
The construction begins
was the start of construction of the breeding center, an Ark for the world's chelonians. We are also planning imports of the individuals who will be included in the project. At present, we have identified 14 species that will have a refuge on Nordens Ark.
The facility is unique and the only one of its kind in Northern Europe. It is being built in the middle of the animal park and will consists of both an area open for the public and a closed breeding facility. In the breeding facility, it will be possible to breed turtles on a larger scale in order to assist conservation projects with animals for release.
The construction of the new facility is now in progress.