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Threatened Turtles Returned to the Wild by San Antonio Zoo

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: November 25, 2021 1:00 am

Rough Footed Mud Turtle Rehab San Antonio Zoo

A rough-footed mud turtle during its time in rehabilitation at San Antonio Zoo

Photo Credit: San Antonio Zoo

Six threatened rough-footed mud turtles have returned to the wild following rehabilitation at the San Antonio Zoo. The three-and-a-half year project was supported by the Center for Conservation and Research at San Antonio Zoo, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the Fuentez family.

The six rough-footed mud turtles were found at the Fuentez family's Los Alamos Ranch outside of Marfa, Texas by Jennifer Smith, Professor at University of New Mexico Alamogordo.

Each of the turtles were facing a skin infection due to poor water quality in the pond and were being targeted by an opportunistic parasite.

The species is critically threatened due to there being less water and changes to their habitat.

"This project is a perfect example of successful and impactful collaborative conservation. It demonstrates how private landowners, academic researchers, government agencies, and zoos -all working together, can secure a future for even the most obscure and imperiled wildlife species," said Andy Gluesenkamp, Ph.D. Director- Center for Conservation & Research at San Antonio Zoo.

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A team at the Center for Conservation and Research spent three and a half years seeking to restore the health of the turtles. During this time the Fuentez family partnered with Texas Parks and Wildlife to rehabilitate the pond on their farm so it is the perfect home for the turtles.

"We are proud to be stewards of the land, to respect and conserve what has been here for hundreds of years before us and will continue to be well beyond our lifetime," the Fuentez family shared. "We hope this lesson and legacy to give back to nature is something that our children and our grandchildren will adopt and continue at Los Alamos Ranch. We'll always do our part to maintain these turtles and all other species of the Big Bend."

Prior to their return to the Ranch the turtles each received a clearance from vets following them being weighed, measured and microchipped.

"I am very proud of our conservation team, and as a Texan, I am especially proud we were able to help save this group right here in our own state," said Tim Morrow, President & CEO of San Antonio Zoo. "For San Antonio Zoo, this is a special call to action for us to step in and assist before these species become endangered."

Learn more about Turtles here – Tortoise and Turtle Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the San Antonio Zoo on their website – San Antonio Zoo

Rough Footed Mud Turtle Rehab San Antonio Zoo

A carer looks out over the turtles during their release back in to their original home

Photo Credit: San Antonio Zoo

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