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American Tortoise Rescue

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American Tortoise Rescue (ATR) is certified by state and federal agencies as a nonprofit 501(c) (3) corporation founded in 1990 to provide for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle.

We offer permanent sanctuary to abandoned and lost tortoises, as well as those that are confiscated from law enforcement and require temporary housing. Foundlings that cannot be adopted because of ill health remain in the care of American Tortoise Rescue for the remainder of their lives. ATR has saved more than 3000 turtles and tortoises since its inception.

The turtles are a variety of species, many of which are protected, endangered or threatened in California as well as all 50 states. ATR rehomed a water turtle flown here from American Samoa in a passenger seat in order to save its life since it was to be euthanized there where this type of turtle is not indigenous. Calls come from private individuals, the SPCA, public animal control/shelters, US Fish & Wildlife confiscations, Department of Health Services, US Park Service, California Wildlife Center, California Fish & Game, and so on.

American Tortoise Rescue acts as a national clearinghouse for information about the care, feeding and rehabilitation of endangered and captive bred tortoises. In addition, ATR is an advocacy group working to abolish “live market” slaughter of turtles, the illegal sale of hatchlings or any turtle under four inches by vendors, the cruel importation and exportation of a variety of species and to protect the desert tortoise from collectors, off-road vehicles and land grabs by large companies and the military.

Currently we are working to stop the sale of illegal hatchling turtles in mercados, at swap meets and fairs, as well as in pet stores. Our undercover video shows very dramatic footage of our work.

Many of the turtles and tortoises are injured or ill. Problems range from dog bites, amputations, upper respiratory infections, shell rot, starvation, stress, failure to thrive, run over by cars, parasites, worms, predator attacks and other medical problems like liver and kidney diseases. Many of the conditions are caused by owners or ignorant individuals. Some are cruelty cases.

Because turtles are not warm and fuzzy, they are often way down on the list for donations, yet veterinary bills. food and housing are very expensive. Donations are grateful accepted. To make a donation or for more information, contact ATR online at, email us at
Help Make a Difference

American Tortoise Rescue
23852 Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu, California 90265
United States

Contact: Susan Tellem
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