Charlie Moorcroft is an equestrian professional well known for his influence on the future riders of our sport during their prime pony years. Over the span of his career, Charlie has taught the children of some of the industry’s most esteemed professionals, including McLain Ward, Brianne Goutal, and Kathy Fletcher. But what many people don’t know is that Charlie is also a dedicated advocate for wildlife conservation. With a lifelong love for turtles and tortoises, Charlie became involved in conservation work as a hobby, and his private collection grew over time. Eventually, Charlie decided to share his wealth of knowledge on species conservation with others.
Charlie’s newly founded Moorcroft Conservation Foundation serves as a platform to introduce children and adults to global conservation issues and inspire them to act consciously where wildlife is concerned. Through the foundation, he also fundraises to support collaborative organizations. Additionally, Charlie uses his privately funded wildlife collection to increase endangered species populations and educate visitors at his home in Wellington, Florida.
Although Charlie’s main area of expertise remains species of turtles and tortoises, he has a variety of other species in his care, including the Patagonian Cavy, Geoffroy’s Cat, and Timneh Parrot, among others. The species in Charlie’s collection range from those with vulnerable populations to those that are functionally extinct. By sharing their stories, Charlie is able to broaden his visitor’ understanding of both the complexity and necessity of conservation work. The McCord’s Box Turtle, one of Charlie’s priority species, is extinct in the wild due to its value in traditional Chinese medicine.
To help save species from extinction, Charlie uses a conservation technique known as captive breeding. In simple terms, captive breeding means that species are bred in captivity without outside threats such as predators, habitat destruction, climate change, or human consumption. This technique is commonly employed by organizations such as wildlife reserves and zoological institutes to increase species populations. As they are bred, experts work to emulate the species’ natural habitat to ensure that they can maintain their evolutionary traits and behaviors. As he continues to breed these species, Charlie will relocate some of the offspring to other organizations who will also participate in the captive breeding process.
As an equestrian, Charlie brings his passion for wildlife to work. As he trains young riders, he tries to engage them with their natural surroundings. Charlie may point out a particular species of turtle or bird while on a walk, motivating his students to develop an independent seat as they try to gain a closer look. He also encourages his students and their friends, along with other equestrians, to visit the Moorcroft Conservation Foundation to learn more about wildlife conservation issues and find the inspiration to get involved.