Asian Turtle Project

By Richard Fife

In 1997 I became aware of the plight of the many species of Asian turtles and tortoises. Since I had been working with the giant Burmese Mountain tortoise since 1973 it seems logical to commit some of my energy to other Asian species. I began to obtain some of the species available in the US pet trade and finally contacted a turtle dealer in China who searched to Asian Food Markets for other species I was interested in working with. I researched protocols for treating fresh imports and then imported a group of turtles for myself and a good friend, who also wanted to work with some of these species.

In January 2001 a group of people representing government agencies, zoological parks, private breeders, naturalists, and interested people from around the globe met to determine how to deal with the Asian turtle problem.

From this 2001 meeting the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) was organized. The TSA ( is an international organization, which is now recognized and respected around the world as a positive force in Asian turtle conservation. The Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) is an Initiative of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group and an integral part of the TCF Global Action plan for Conservation of Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles.

I continue to work with a small group of Asian turtles in hopes of enhancing captive breeding with these species.