Turtles, and Tortoises, and Terrapins – Oh, My!

Animal Law, Current Events, Holidays and Observances, Law Journal Library, The Environment, World Treaty Library
Tara Kibler

Today is World Turtle Day, and HeinOnline wants to shell-abrate! Join us in discovering how the world continues to help these adorable reptiles survive and thrive.

Before We Get Started:

Don’t miss out! Make sure you have the databases we’ll be mentioning in this post. Follow the links below to start a trial today.

World Turtle Day

Since the year 2000, World Turtle Day has been sponsored as an annual, international holiday by American Tortoise Rescue, a rescue organization for all turtle and tortoise species. Founded in 1990 by husband and wife Marshall Thompson and Susan Tellem, American Tortoise Rescue has saved more than 4,000 turtles and tortoises combined.

World Turtle Day seeks to increase awareness and knowledge of turtles and tortoises as well as encourage human engagement in helping them thrive. Around the world, people celebrate Turtle Day by wearing green, engaging in turtle-related activities, or even dressing up as turtles. The Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group (TTPG), a non-profit founded in 1996, also provides free Turtle Day lesson plans to schools and classrooms across the globe.

Turtles in the Law

Want to know more about global turtle protections, but don’t know where to start? Performing a full-text search for “turtles” OR “tortoises” OR “terrapins” in HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library database returns more than 5,000 results. Results include relevant titles like:

Let’s click on The Tortoiseshell Industry. From the article itself, users can enhance their search to discover similar titles in a number of ways. First, users can select the Topics button, located to the right above the article. Selecting this button will show a list of topics related to the article. Clicking a topic like “Endangered Species” will begin a search within that topic in the Law Journal Library.

The More Like This feature is another way to find relevant articles in HeinOnline. This feature provides users with a list of similar articles based on “interesting words” which have been extracted from the article using an algorithm. Users can adjust the boost factors of the interesting words, add a new term, or select a date range to modify the search results.

From the open Tortoiseshell Industry article, click the button marked More Like This (located to the left of the Topics button) to view the list of similar results.

Buttons marked Topics and Entities appear underneath the generated list of interesting words. Selecting one of these search facets will further enhance a user’s search results. The Topics facet generates a list of relevant topics, while Entities refers to location, person, and organization.

Let’s select the Topics button underneath our More Like This results from The Tortoiseshell Industry to view a list of likely topics for the article, as well as the top 10 articles and their topics that led to this classification.

Users with particular turtle-related legislature in mind can easily find it in HeinOnline as well. A popular source is The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) which lists various species of sea turtles as endangered or threatened, thus making it illegal to harm, kill, transport, or sell them, their hatchlings, or their eggs.

HeinOnline offers the complete legislative histories of the ESA and its amendments in the Animal Studies: Law, Welfare and Rights database. Using these legislative histories, users can not only read through the act itself but also discover the congressional intent leading up to the act and its amendments. In addition, with journals on animal studies, titles from the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Animal Welfare Institute, and philosophical books dating back to the 1800s, HeinOnline’s Animal Studies database establishes and explores the evolution of the foundational laws pertaining to animals.

To find the legislative history of the ESA, navigate to the Animal Studies: Law, Welfare and Rights home page. Select the Legislative Histories tab and scroll down in the results to view the six different legislative histories.

Researchers may also be interested in global regulations affecting sea turtles, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a multilateral treaty from 1973 intended to protect endangered plants and animals.

To find the treaty, users can enter the World Treaty Library in HeinOnline. From the Treaty Index search page, change one of the drop-down boxes to the Description search option. Then, type the full title name in quotes into the search box next to it (“Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora”). Upon clicking the search button, users will be redirected to one result.

Now that you know more about turtles, tortoises, and terrapins, go out and save one! Get in touch with your local animal rescue organization, aquarium, or nature preserve to find out how you can help.


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