December 15th, 2015

Emergency Preparedness Fundraiser Launched at American Tortoise Rescue

Turtles at Americn Tortoise Rescue

American Tortoise Rescue Launches a GoFundMe Emergency Preparedness Fundraiser to Purchase Needed Equipment.

MALIBU, CA, US, September 21, 2020 / -- Malibu, CA – September 21, 2020 – American Tortoise Rescue is a 30 year old international nonprofit (EIN 93-1219374) focused on turtles and tortoises, the rescue has saved and rehomed more than 4,000 since its launch.

This year, more than 3 million acres have burned in California so far. The threat of another devastating wildfire fire in Malibu looms large. Since moving American Tortoise Rescue’s sanctuary to Malibu 23 years ago, it was evacuated twice. The first time was in 2008 when it did not reach the sanctuary, though the flames were visible.

The second time was the devastating Woolsey Fire in early November 2018, which burned almost 100,000 acres, killed three people and burned down hundreds of homes. The house and turtle hospital were lost after evacuating 50 patients and undersized rescues. Because many rescue tortoises and turtles were hibernating, they were able to stay in the sanctuary, housed safely in fireproof housing. The volunteer angels were overwhelmed and couldn’t get trailers into the area. The hospital is being rebuilt better than ever, but that leaves evacuation needs and fire protection still unfunded.

The prediction is that wildfires will to get worse every year, so the sanctuary founders, Susan Tellem and Marshall Thompson, are stepping up emergency preparations and evacuation protocol. In addition to human support, equipment and other items outlined below are needed. Car and truck dealers or individuals who would like to donate a pre-owned pickup or trailer as a nonprofit donation, should email

The sanctuary emergency preparedness plan includes:
1) Institute emergency drills.
2) Purchase and practice attaching a two-horse trailer to a truck and loading it with animals.
3) Purchase and practice loading large animals with an electric or hand lift into a trailer.
4) Identify veterinary offices out of the fire area to medicate, treat and/or house any sick rescue residents.
5) Purchase a water tank with fire hoses, pumps and pressure nozzles backed up by emergency generators.
6) Initiate closer contact with the LA County Fire Department and Malibu City Council, which has a fire captain as a member.
7) Seek out local and neighborhood volunteers, as well as retired firefighters, to help with potential evacuation situations.

Malibu neighbors, Diane and Barry Woods, have offered a matching grant if American Tortoise Rescue can raise $5000 more at GoFundMe to help. Click here to donate!

Press contact: Susan Tellem;; 310-613-3504.

Susan Tellem
American Tortoise Rescue
+1 310-313-3444
email us here
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