Chinese Turtles: Endangered Species Born At NYC Zoo

Chinese turtles, an endangered species, were born at the NYC Zoo.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, another Chinese turtle recently made news for chain-smoking.

The birth of the rare little critters marks the first time the species has been born in the United States, according to zoo representatives. Denise McClean, Director of the Prospect Park Zoo discussed the importance of the event:

“With so many of the world’s freshwater turtles and tortoises facing extinction, these hatchlings represent significant progress for the conservation of the species,”

The Chinese turtles were two inches long when they hatched at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn. The species itself is referred to as “Chinese Big-Headed turtle” (Platysternon megacephalum), so named for their unusually large skulls. Their heads are so large, in fact, they cannot withdraw their head into their shells like other turtles. The Chinese turtles are popular pets in China and Southern Asia, which has likely contributed to their endangered species status.

NYC Zoo currently boasts 15 Chinese turtles, now the largest collection in any accredited zoo. The Chinese turtle is rather small on the size scale for turtles, measuring in at just seven inches in length. The Chinese turtles were born as part of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s breeding propagation program to build colonies in the hope of maintaining a viable population to save the species. Jim Breheny, Wildlife Conservation Society Executive Vice President of Zoos and Aquarium and Bronx Zoo Director, outlines the positive outcome so far, of the program:

“The success we are seeing at this point in our turtle propagation work is encouraging. Our work on breeding endangered turtles utilizes the expertise found throughout the entire WCS organization as well as various partner organizations with whom we work.”

So what do you think about the Chinese turtles being born at the NYC Zoo? They should be pretty proud of themselves, wouldn’t you say?