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My name is Michael Butcher I am the Founder and First Trustee Of the Kent Turtle Sanctuary. It all began when I was a boy; I always wanted a turtle as I loved the kids cartoon Teenage Ninja Turtles, however thankfully my dad would not let me have one. Unfortunately some parents and other "ill informed" people did buy them after watching the Teenage Ninja Turtles film and TV series; but when they realised that the 50p-sized babies grow to the size of a dinner plate and have specialist dietary and accommodation needs, some could not cope and dumped them in ponds and lakes.
Also when inexperienced owners were sold tiny babies they were not given correct information by pet shops eager to make a sale. When they are 1-2 years old and starting to outgrow their original small tank thay are sold at half price with all equipment, Once they reached 4 inches they are virtually impossible to sell, so they are given away free or dumped.
When I grew up, I discovered that there were lots of these turtles out there that needed a home, so I started the Kent Turtle Sanctuary. We currently have some 1,500 terrapins including; soft shelled, snake necks, musks, red-eared sliders, yellow-belly sliders and side necks. Some are also disabled.
My goal is to make sure all turtles and terrapins are properly taken care of and that there is a home for those who need it. Many people do not have the time or capacity to take care of these wonderful animals and we are here to establish loving homes and support.
Early in 2021 Steve Morris joined me as a trustee when we applied for Charity Status. Thankfully this was granted and we have now become a registered charity; with two trustees myself and Steve. Our aim for the future as a charity is to acquire 5 acres of land so we can make the biggest turtle sanctuary in the UK. This means we can save even more of these creatures and also help to reduce their serious threat to our native wildlife. We also intend to have a visitor centre in this new Sanctuary where members of the public can visit to see the turtles and also be educated in the reasons they are abandoned, how to trap them and care for them correctly.
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