PLAINVILLE — Nearly 100 turtles are now calling Plainville home thanks to a town resident who is helping lead a national conservation effort.
“I wanted to make a difference,” said Anthony Pierlioni.
Together with a partner, Pierlioni created the Turtle Room six years ago to educate the public about turtle conservation. His interest began at a young age when he used to catch turtles in town with his aunt. Later he learned more about the dangers they face.
The Turtle Room has grown to include a team from around the country. They work with other organizations, like the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Turtle Survival Alliance.
According to a 2011 report released by the Turtle Survival Alliance, almost half of the 300 species of turtles are being threatened with extinction.
“Worldwide the hunting of turtles is at vastly unsustainable levels,” the group said. “Of the 25 most endangered turtles, over two-thirds (17) are from Asia, a result of decades of massive exploitation of the region’s turtle.”
Of the close to 100 turtles that the Plainville High School alumni houses, 10 are extinct in the wild. More than half are endangered.
“They’re in need of more information, there’s no books or research on them currently,” he said.
From the backyard to the basement, Pierlioni’s home is filled with 16 species of turtles. He also has eggs that are waiting to hatch.
A recent leaf turtle he hatched was sent to the Dallas Zoo, which in return sent him one back to breed.
“It diversifies the bloodlines this way,” he said.
Pierlioni, a social worker by day, travels to Pennsylvania four times a year to do field work with the Turtle Room. He has also given talks about the conservation projects at various conferences.
“Turtles are the most endangered vertebrate group, rivaled only by the great apes and big cats,” he said.
More information can be found at https://theturtleroom.com/
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