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Last updated: Thu. May. 29, 2014 - 06:49 am EDT

Endangered black-breasted leaf turtle born at Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

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It’s about as big around as a 50-cent piece, and weighs just over 6 grams — about as much as a quarter coin. But the recent birth of a black-breasted leaf turtle at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is a big news in the effort to save endangered species.

The tiny turtle hatched from an egg nearly three weeks ago in the zoo’s Indonesian Rain Forest area, the zoo reported on its blog at www.kidszoo.org. Zookeepers also are incubating two additional eggs and hope for more babies.

“We’re excited about hatching an endangered species, and we’re monitoring this one very closely,” Zookeeper Dave Messman, who works with the zoo’s reptiles, said in the blog post.

The baby turtle currently is not out in public view, the zoo said.

Black-breasted leaf turtles live near streams in southeast Asia, the zoo reported. They are endangered because of habitat destruction and because people collect them for use in traditional Asian medicines and for sale as pets.

They can live up to 20 years, but they only grow to 5 inches long, which makes them among the world’s smallest turtles, the zoo reported.

The Fort Wayne zoo is working with other zoos to develop a genetically diverse captive population of the turtles. For more about these reptiles, go to the zoo’s fact sheet at http://kidszoo.org/our-animals/indonesian-rain-forest/black-breasted-leaf-turtle.


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