An additional activity of the ESF is placing species (many on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species) in the hands of Zoos and Aquariums of the EAZA or private persons of the ESF. This fits within the ESF aim to build up genetically healthy populations of species.
Most of the animals are confiscated abroad in Asia and in some cases in the Netherlands or other European countries. The confiscated animals are either handed over directly to the ESF by the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), the Confiscations bureau (IBG) of the ministry of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands or investigating authorities of other European countries. The animals are often smuggled for the pet trade and sometimes for human consumption.
For the rest of their lifes, the ownership of the animals always remains at the ESF (an obligation of the governments) but they are placed with studbook participants under their responsibility for proper care of them; these keepers therefore signs a contract with ESF.
The ESF animals are registered in the respective studbooks (also an obligation of the governments). Under “Guidelines” on this site you will find an example of the standard ESF contract.
From the ESF contracts holders of ESF animals are required to inform the appropriate studbook keeper or the board on all matters relating their received animals.
Please see also below the apart special registration of ESF species outside normal studbooks.
Apart registration of ESF animals (No regular studbooks at this moment, but now special registrations.):
Agreement "Front Door Animal Procedure" in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, the Dutch CITES management authority and the ESF have an agreement regarding legalizing found turtles, for which an EU certificate and a possession exemption are required in the Netherlands.
The CITES management authority cannot determine the origin of found turtles, so that an EU certificate cannot be issued for these animals. The possession of these animals is therefore illegal and the owner is in violation. Illegal animals are then seized. The possessor, who is usually the finder of the turtles is in a difficult situation he usually does not provide.
For the CITES Management Authority, it is important to achieve a good solution for the found animals. Therefore it has signed an agreement with the ESF, whereby these animals should be registered in the ESF studbook registration and the ownership of the animals for the rest of their lives will be given to the ESF. Only after these steps the CITES management authority is prepared to start the procedure for legalization. The possessors of found turtles therefore first be referred to the ESF.
The ESF gives these animals then in (breeding) loan usually to the finder, who is after the registration also participant of the concerning studbook.
The ESF is obliged to give justification to the CITES Management Authority.
To give an overview: in the past fifteen years the ESF has placed many animals of the following species: