As seen on WNPR
By Aundréa Murray
A Connecticut environmental education group is introducing almost two dozen rescued baby turtles from Alaska. SoundWaters Coastal Education Center in Stamford took in 22 turtles rescued from global wildlife-trafficking.
According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Public Affairs Chief Gavin Shire, global wildlife-trafficking has been increasing. Shire said the smugglers are likely to be from both inside and outside the U.S., with a common trafficking route as far away as China. Turtle soup is considered a delicacy in China, where there is a lucrative market for turtles.
SoundWaters said they were among 211 baby turtles stuffed into boots and were confiscated last fall from smugglers in Alaska.
The remaining turtles were taken to 13 other facilities in the United States.
SoundWaters has an existing terrapin program — taking care of terrapins and keeping records of the animal’s weight, food consumption, medications — making them the primary candidate to receive the 22 baby turtles.
Terrapins are the only marine species of turtle native to Connecticut.
SoundWaters said the one to two-inch patterned diamondback terrapins are now thriving. They are a protected species and have been returning to their native habitats in recent years.