A group of twenty-five diamondback terrapins have arrived at Zoo Atlanta where they will remain for the next year. The terrapins are part of the Georgia Sea Turtle Centre’s Jekyll Island Causeway Conservation Program.
This program sees turtles raised at Zoo Atlanta after their mothers have been killed in highway accidents until they are a year old when they are released into the wild.
While picking up these terrapins from the Georgia Sea Turtle Centre, ten were returned to the centre. These will be prepared for release at the centre so they can return to the wild.
America’s eastern states are the home of the diamondback terrapin. They are the world’s only turtle species which can be found swimming in brackish water. Unfortunately they are regularly run over by cars travelling Georgia’s causeways. They are also under threat from being trapped in crab pots and habitat alteration.
“We’re delighted to support the Georgia Sea Turtle Center in their important work to raise awareness of the need to get this treasured native species back on track. This is an approach to conservation that we can really help our Members and guests understand because they can see it in action,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO. “Visitors can see the terrapins here at the Zoo and know that these same animals will someday play a direct role in a big-picture initiative that culminates in their restoration to the wild.”
Unfortunately this is not the first time this species has declined in number. They were almost eaten to extinction during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Thankfully due to programs like these their numbers are now beginning to rise again.
Currently the terrapins are on exhibit in Scaly Slimy Spectacular, the zoo’s recently opened reptile house. Each individual turtle can be identified by a number which has been painted on their back in non-toxic paint.
Photo Credit: Atlanta Zoo