North East Turtle Rescue at maximum capacity.

Benji - One of Turtle Rescues Turtles.

Benji – One of Turtle Rescues Turtles.

THE NORTH EAST’S only turtle rescue and re-homing center is struggling to cope with growing numbers of abandoned turtles.

The Centre is based in County Durham and is part of Turtle Rescue UK.

It is the third Turtles Rescue Center to open within the UK, and is run by volunteers.

Due to lack of public awareness and inappropriate trading of turtles throughout the UK, the rescue center is currently caring for 94 turtles.

Jacque Bell founder of North East Turtle rescue said ” We currently have a real problem with turtles within the UK. People don’t know how to care for them correctly and often abandon them as they grow in size”.

The Center fears problems will increase in the run up to the release of a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie in October, fearing a wave of new turtles being bought throughout the country.

A campaign is being made by the rescue center to protect turtles welfare throughout the period.

North East Turtle Rescue recently opened ‘New To You’, a recycling shop in Langley Moor to help fund the sanctuary.

The Rescue Centre bought the shop just over a year ago, and houses 24 turtles at the back of the shop.

The shop houses a wide array of species of turtle such as African Side Neck TurtlesYellow Belly Sliders, Snake Neck Turtles and Florida Soft Shells.

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Snake Neck Turtle in his ‘New to You’ home.

Jacque bell said “We take in lots of abandoned turtles, they come to us with burnt skin, malnutrition, stunted growth and all sorts of injuries

“Turtles often get abandoned because their owners get sick of them or fail to meet their needs.

“Turtles have specific nutritional needs as well as environmental needs and lots of owners are not educated on what they are.

“Turtles are easy to buy and cheap within the UK and are often bought when they are small”.

Often when the turtles grow bigger their owners are not equipped to look after them and they often get abandoned.

Jacque Bell said “Turtles are not able to survive in our climate and if they do it is by sheer luck, it is like abandoning a dog and thinking it will be alright in our climate”.

Turtles that can’t be taken in by Turtle Rescue UK are often destroyed by the RSPCA.

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Two Male Yellow Belly Sliders at Turtle Rescue UK.

Turtle Rescue UK plans to expand in the future so it can take in more abandoned and mistreated turtles.

It hopes to move some encloses to petting farms so they can have more room and free up more space for turtles.

Jacque said “We are taking in as many turtles as we can but we need to expand, we offer advice to owners but sometimes this isn’t enough”.

The sanctuary is also campaigning to get trading standards changed for the trade of turtles and bring in laws to prevent the sale of any turtles under 4 inches.

This law has recently been past in America and has had a positive effect on turtle welfare, decreasing the level of abandoned turtles.

Jacque said “We need to make trading standards enforce the way turtles are being sold and make pet shops more aware and responsible for animals”.

For further information on turtle welfare or Turtle Rescue UK please contact Jacqui Bell by calling : 07855522262 or emailing her at: jacqui.turtlerescue@live.co.uk

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