Berkshire Museum Tom Patti Commission 2

Protecting Endangered Turtles at the Aquarium

Northern Red Bellied Cooters

Northern Red Bellied Cooters after being measures at the Berkshire Museum Aquarium.

Joo Young is an intern from Miss Hall’s School in Pittsfield, working in the aquarium by helping us to spread the word about all of the cool projects that people might not otherwise know about. Today she brings us some information on a special guest critter we are currently caring for:

The Berkshire Museum Aquarium does more than just sustain wildlife indoors for the enjoyment of the community. It also contributes to the balancing and rehabilitating of endangered animals. In late September or early October, the Berkshire Museum is gifted with the opportunity to help a very special species. Every year the Aquarium receives 10 Northern Red Bellied Cooters – a kind of turtle. They may not seem crucial, but their population had dropped to down to only 300 in wild when the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Wildlife started to help and shelter them. Even small bits of help can contribute to the regrowth of these turtle. Volunteers at the aquarium take care of them by feeding, weighing, and measuring their growth. During the spring, around Memorial Day, these turtles return to Fish and Wildlife staff who release them into the wild a few days later. It is now thought that the turtle’s population is up around 2000. With the contribution and effort of the Aquarium and other volunteers, the turtle are surely regaining their strength to live in the wild.

To view a US Fish and Wildlife fact sheet about the Northern Red Bellied Cooter, click here.

To learn more about other conservation projects of the MA Division of Fish and Wildlife, click here.

Interns from Miss Hall's School measure endangered Red Bellied Cooters as part of a wildlife conservation project.

 
Interns from Miss Hall’s School measure endangered Red Bellied Cooters as part of a wildlife conservation project.

2 Responses to “Protecting Endangered Turtles at the Aquarium”

  1. Thom Smith December 2, 2013 10:34 pm
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    So pleased the project continues! In the early days of the head start program we raised a hatchling during its first winter. It was released the following June and went on io becom a mom providing the aquarium with one of its offspring. Perhaps the aquarium has head started other second gen turtles, but this one was confirmed
    Gen2!

    • Kate Preissler December 3, 2013 10:14 am
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      Very cool, thanks for sharing that good memory!