Lincoln Park Zoo helps reintroduce 20 turtles to natural habitat - FOX 32 News Chicago

Lincoln Park Zoo helps reintroduce 20 turtles to natural habitat

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - More than 20 ornate box turtles were reintroduced Wednesday to habitats near the Mississippi River thanks to efforts by the Lincoln Park Zoo and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

The turtles were hatched from eggs from the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge near Savanna, Ill., the zoo said in a statement.

The North Side zoo incubated, hatched and raised the turtles, then returned them to federal wildlife officials, who gave them unique markings and transmitters.

“The transmitters allow USFWS to track the turtles’ activities and gather research about movement patterns, nesting grounds, diet and preferred environment,” said Diane Mulkerin, a curator at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

“This research is a critical part in understanding these animals and determining additional ways we can continue contributing to the natural population of this species,” Mulkerin said.

The 20 turtles were reintroduced to sand prairies near Thompson and Savanna, within the wildlife refuge that follows 261 miles of the Mississippi River.

Experts hope to increase the population of the ornate box turtles in the area to at least 100 by 2020, the zoo said.

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