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Dr. Peter Pritchard (born 1943) is a leading turtle zoologist. Educated at Oxford Universitymarker and the University of Floridamarker, where he earned his Ph.D. in Zoology, he is most commonly known for his campaign of almost 40 years for the conservation of turtles. Appropriately, his privately funded Chelonian Research Institute, for the study and preservation of turtles, is located in Oviedo, Floridamarker, United Statesmarker, just a half hour's drive from Disney Worldmarker. Frank Sulloway had noted that Pritchard 'has amassed nearly 12,000 tortoise and turtle skeletons - the third largest collections in the world.'

Pritchard has done his most important and innovative work along the Atlanticmarker coast of Guyanamarker, the South American country that is home to four of the world's eight known sea turtle species: the leatherback, green, hawksbill and the olive ridley. By the 1960s, overhunting by local Arawak Indians — themselves an endangered group — had ravaged the turtle population.

Pritchard tried to save both the turtles and the tribe. He lobbied Guyana and private sources for grants that lowered the Arawak consumption of turtle meat and he helped them to farm chickens. He hired Arawaks at his study camp to tag turtles for research and to police nesting grounds to prevent attacks from poachers. The turtle population has increased, he says, because turtle protection is now "a family discipline thing" among Arawaks "rather than an outsider laying down the law." Along the way, Pritchard's own scholarship has benefited from centuries' worth of tribal turtle knowledge. He has also done extensive study and written books about alligator snapping turtles and Galapagos tortoises.


Environmental Science Program [293326]
  • Sulloway F.J. Is lonesome George really lonesome? Skeptic, 2006, 12(4): 58-70.

External links Heroes of the Planet [293327]


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