The Calusa Herpetological Society
Of Southwest Florida

Thursday, January 3, 20137:00 pm



Tonight's speaker is Curt Harbsmeier from Lakland, FL.

The topic of his talk is "Failing the Galapagos Tortoise".


      Since their discovery around 1535, pirates, then whalers, then oil hunters depleted wild populations of Galapagos tortoises. Amidst growing concern for the security of their future as a species, around the turn of the 20th century large groups of young tortoises were brought to the U.S. and beyond for scientific study and propagation. Some of the original imports survive today. Sadly, this is not so with many of their captive–hatched progeny. Despite improvement in general chelonian husbandry over the past thirty years, the unique challenges of keeping, propagating, and rearing an animal with the low caloric requirements and massive growth potential of a Galapagos tortoise have been met with moderate-to-poor success. This presentation takes a look at these gentle giants -- their historic relationship with man, and many of the reasons why we are failing them in captivity. It takes a practical look at the husbandry guidelines that can be applied to many species of tortoises and offers some new perspectives on the special considerations that should be given a Galapagos tortoise to avoid serious health issues and help raise a healthier “next generation.” 



   Curt Harbsmeier is an attorney in central Florida with a lifelong passion for the conservation of herpetofauna. He has a twenty year history of working with a diverse group of chelonians, including Galapagos tortoises.  He is an executive board member of Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, and is involved with numerous conservation organizations and activities. Curt is a member of the IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group, the AZA Crocodilian Advisory Group, and the Turtle Survival Alliance.





WHO'S INVITED ? You are! Anyone with an interest in any aspect of herpetology or herpetoculture is welcome to attend, learn, and exchange their experiences with our friendly membership. Come out to meet others who keep, breed or study reptiles and amphibians, and let them share their fascination with you. We average 35 – 70 people attending every meeting.



Cookies and cold soda, a nightly raffle of live herps, herp products, and books follow each speaker's talk, and lots of herp camaraderie, gossip, and fun can be counted upon at all meetings !

For more info , call (239) 728-2390 or (239) 481-3525 or  EMAIL:   

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