ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A pair of critically endangered bog turtles hatched at Zoo Atlanta on March 1 and 2, 2023.
Bog turtles are the smallest turtles in North America. The two hatchlings were born weighing less than half an ounce, and their shells are roughly the size of a quarter.
The species can only be found in the eastern United States, including northeast Georgia.
“Zoo Atlanta is thrilled to welcome new bog turtle hatchlings. Not only is every hatch vital to the remaining population of this critically endangered species, but this news also shines an important spotlight on efforts to preserve Georgia wildlife and wild environments,” said Jennifer Mickelberg, PhD, Vice President of Collections and Conservation. “People sometimes think of biodiversity as a feature of faraway places on other continents, when in fact our own state is a hotbed of biodiversity.”
The ecosystem that the Bog Turtles call home, the imperiled mountain bog, is as rare as the turtles themselves.
The Zoo Atlanta Horticulture Team is assisting the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Nature Conservancy in efforts to restore a mountain bog in Georgia.
The turtles now have a home behind the scenes in the Zoo’s “Georgia eXtremes” building along with their parents, and another adult female.
“Georgia eXtremes” highlights Georgia native reptiles and amphibians. It’s hoped that when the new arrivals can join their siblings once they’re larger.
To learn more about conservation programs and partnerships at Zoo Atlanta, visit zooatlanta.org/conservation.