Sue Carstairs is an Ontario-based veterinarian who specializes in turtles. This book is a plaintive cry to prevent those creatures from joining the great manmade “Sixth Extinction.” Habitat loss, pollution, fishing, as well as cars and boats, have had a devastating impact on these ancient animals since they have always been relatively rare. Few turtle hatchlings ever reach adulthood but now more than half of the 300 varieties found worldwide are endangered. Yet some hope exists and the author details how a variety of organizations across the globe are engaged in rescue, rehabilitation and “headstarting” (hatch and release) efforts. As someone who had several “red-eared slider” pets when I was young, I found this book pretty fascinating. Clearly Carstair’s passion comes through in the text, which is accompanied by hundreds of colour photos (some are kind of gory though!), a glossary, index and a page of supplemental resources.
Teachers who are engaged in environmental education, especially on the topics of conservation and sustainability, would be able to make use of this resource. For example, the end of the book has several practical suggestions for young people (don’t buy wild turtles, lobby for turtle-crossing signs, or even help a turtle to get across a road). These could serve as a base for students to investigate comparative supports on behalf of other endangered species.
[Review by George Sheppard.]