A LIFE LIKE NO OTHER...
Garden State Tortoise was founded in 2011 by Chris and Casey Leone. Nestled along the southern shore of New Jersey, GST acts as a breeding facility, rescue and permanent home to turtles and tortoises from all over Mother Earth. In over 30 years of working hands on with such a highly threatened group of vertebrates, the Leones aim to unite conservation and preservation efforts through educating the world that both are needed to truly save them from extinction.
GST maintains state conservation projects such as the Terrapin Conservation Initiative, a program to save the northern diamonback terrapin, and works to preserve endangered species under naturalistic captive conditions by responsibly breeding them. At the very same time, turtles and tortoises in need of homes both common and rare find refuge here as the Leones work with state and federal agencies along with zoos and other animal facilities to properly place them.
Chris and Casey play active roles in the non profit organization theTurtleRoom, maintain important chelonians on breeding loan from entities such the Turtle Survival Alliance and partake in educating the general public through a significant presence on social media and by giving educational talks. Though turtles and tortoises remain the focal point for GST, a passion for all wildlife is deeply rooted in the Leone family with Casey being a former zoo keeper and Chris being a member of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife's Venomous Snake Response Team.
Working with turtles and tortoises is a 24/7 job, 365 days a year for the Leones but nothing is taken for granted at Garden State Tortoise. The future of these primitive creatures remains very uncertain for a number of reasons and it is truly a privilege to be able to secure a place in being hands on with them as a career. It is a must for all sides concerning both conservation and preservation to come together, because only then can we begin to make a dent in the ultimate survival of the planet's turtles and tortoises.