About The Project

What is the purpose of the Tally?

The Turtle Tally project was initiated and developed at the end of 2018. The aim was to research the topic of released pet terrapins in the UK as there was little available. The idea was to provide a survey that could be accessed by the general public to upload photos and information on terrapins seen whilst out and about similar to other wildlife citizen science projects. Terrapins (freshwater turtles) are widespread across Europe and released pets have had an impact on those populations due to competition for food and basking sites. The European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) was native here circa 8000 years ago but due to climatic changes they became extinct (although remnant populations are noted) so there are no native freshwater terrapins in the UK. Unlike in Europe, where released terrapins out-compete native species, this is not a factor here in the UK but we are uncertain of how these released pets impact the environment and what the welfare considerations are for them. Our research is evolving and we are investigating various related factors in this topic to provide evidence informing future decision making regarding these turtles and their welfare.

Using the locations and information that people provide, we can see if there are correlations between urban areas and release sites, the numbers seen in one sighting and types of habitat. This is purely an observational study so we are using the data to map out locations and linking with other groups and organisations, working on research that may help conserve native fauna and flora and the terrapins themselves. If you have any queries regarding the research, please do send an email using the 'Get in touch' link.