Endangered Box Turtles Hatch in New York

box turtle
Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

The Bronx Zoo is celebrating five new additions to its turtle family: a quintet of Chinese yellow-headed box turtles.

With fewer than 150 of this kind of turtle left in the wild, this species is one of the 25 most endangered turtles in the world, according to the zoo. The Chinese yellow-headed box turtle once thrived in the Anhui Province of eastern China, but pollution, habitat loss and use in traditional medicine have endangered its population.

The hatching of these turtles is part of a larger effort by the Wildlife Conservation Society to save some of the globe's critically endangered turtle species. The program breeds certain species of turtles, reintroducing some back into the wild, and keeping others at the zoo to maintain genetic diversity.

“The success we are seeing in the early stages of this program is encouraging,” said Jim Breheny, WCS Executive Vice President of Zoos and Aquarium and Bronx Zoo Director, in a media release. “Over time, we hope to expand our turtle propagation work to extend to many of the most endangered species of turtles and tortoises."

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