Since its inception, American Tortoise Rescue has rescued well over 3,000 turtles and tortoises of all species with 70 percent being land tortoises and the remainder water turtles. The in-house population "floats" at about 125. Our other achievements include:
Implementing a national campaign to stop the sale of a specific species of tortoise called sulcatas, which are being mistreated and sold illegally throughout the U.S.
Helping to stop the cruel sale of turtles and other exotic animals in an section of Los Angeles called Santee Alley. Because of our video presentation before the Animal Control Commission, officers now continually monitor the situation and make arrests.
Bringing to light the cruel sale of water turtles in Asian markets throughout the US. These animals were kept in unsanitary, cruel conditions including upside down, without food, water, or shade.
Creating a campaign called Turtle Ambassadors to teach awareness among school children about turtles and tortoises.
Developing a national campaign to stop the sale of reptiles in pet stores.
Producing a series of videos about turtles and tortoises, which is distributed to media and other places with large audiences.
Our History Located in Malibu, CA, American Tortoise Rescue was founded by Susan Tellem and Marshall Thompson, a husband and wife team, whose avocation is fostering humane treatment of all animals and reptiles. They decided to devote their free time to the rescue of these gentle creatures after adopting two captive-bred desert tortoises hatchlings. The sanctuary has expanded rapidly as people all over the world have heard of their work.
About the founders Susan is also a partner in Tellem Grody Public Relations, Inc., a public relations agency. She is voting member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, as well as a member in good standing of the Public Relations Society of America. She graduated from Mount St. Mary’s College as an RN and completed graduate work in communications at UCLA where she was an extension instructor for more than 10 years. She also served as an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University, is a retired LAPD Reserve Officer Specialist, a member of CERT and served as a Public Safety Commissioner for the City of Malibu. Tellem raised four children and now spends 12 hours a day on turtle issues and 12 hours a day running her PR agency.
Marshall is a writer and producer who heads prvideo.tv His more than 30 years of experience in video and television includes roles as director of photography, production manager, writer, producer and director for such clients as ESPN, ABC Wide World of Flying, 20th Century Fox, PBS and Telepictures. Thompson also served as segment producer for the MGM show "LAPD - Life on the Beat." Thompson is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, International Television Association (ITVA) and the International Documentary Association (IDA). Thompson did his graduate work in television and film at San Diego State. He speaks Spanish, Italian and French. He just finished producing an entire animal series for kids called Alphabet Animals.
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