Endangered Blanding’s Turtles Released into the Wild

Endangered Blanding’s Turtles Released into the Wild


My name is Celeste Troon, I am the curator and director of living collections at the Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Today is a very special day! Because today we are going to release 92 hatchling Blanding’s turtles that we have been raising at the Nature Museum for the past year. So it’s a slightly bittersweet event because we’ve obviously been nurturing and caring for them for many months. And now we’re letting them out into the wide blue yonder. They are an endangered species. And, they are endangered for many different reasons. Primarily loss of habitat and habitat fragmentation. And, there’s far too many predators in relation to the prey. So generally what happens is that the eggs and the hatchlings don’t survive. Which is where we come in. Because we collect the eggs and nurture the hatchlings for the first year of their life, which is when the most predation occurs. So we’re giving them a headstart. All of the turtles have an identification number which is marked on to their shell. We have to remove that before we release them into the wild. We’re partnered with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. They created the project in 1994 and we joined in 2008. In the time we’ve been involved, we’ve actually released over 650 one-year-old hatchlings back into the wild. Very excitingly, about three years ago some of the first headstarted turtles have started to produce their own offspring, so we’ve got grand-turtles now, which is fun. We just want to keep on going with this project until we see a healthy population of all age groups within the area.

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