Endangered Turtles at the Bronx Zoo

April 23, 2012

Animal experts at the Bronx Zoo’s World of Reptiles are working to boost the populations of four endangered turtle species, including this Roti Island snake-necked turtle, with the hopes of reintroducing some individuals to their native habitats.

More than half of the world’s 330 species of freshwater turtles and tortoises face extinction. Habitat loss and illegal trade—largely driven by demand from China, specifically for human consumption, traditional medicines, and the pet trade—are the leading causes of their plight.

To address the extinction crisis, the Wildlife Conservation Society is working to ensure the continued survival of more than a dozen of the most endangered freshwater turtles and tortoise species. Some of these efforts are taking place at the Bronx Zoo, where experts are working to breed Roti Island snake-necked turtles, golden coin turtles, McCord's box turtles, and yellow-headed box turtles. Eventually, WCS hopes to reintroduce some of these species to the wild and develop assurance colonies for others.

In this Wall Street Journal video segment, reporter Wendy Bounds goes behind the scenes at the World of Reptiles and speaks with WCS Zoos and Aquarium General Director Jim Breheny and Curator of Bronx Zoo Herpetology Don Boyer.