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20 ornate box turtles freed in regional refuge

Terrapins were raised in Chicago zoo program

Published: Saturday, June 21, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
Caption
(AP Photo/Courtesy the Lincoln Park Zoo)
One of 20 ornate box turtles released Wednesday at the Upper Mississippi Wildlife and Fish Refuge near Thomson and Savanna. Ornate box turtles have been listed as a threatened species since 2009. The Fish and Wildlife Service wants to populate the area with 100 turtles by 2020. There also are populations in Whiteside, Lee and Ogle counties.
Caption
(AP)
The turtles, which were raised at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, were given unique markings and transmitters so they can be tracked by researchers.
Caption
(AP)
Lincoln Park Zoo and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials release 20 ornate box turtles into the wild at the Upper Mississippi Wildlife and Fish Refuge near Thomson and Savanna. Wednesday's release is part of efforts to restore natural grasslands and prairies.

Twenty ornate box turtles have been released into the wild, in the Upper Mississippi Wildlife and Fish Refuge near Thomson and Savanna, as part of efforts to restore natural grasslands and prairies.

Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released the turtles on Wednesday. They hatched from eggs at the zoo where they were raised without the threat of predators.

Before their release, they got unique markings and transmitters so they can be tracked by researchers.

Lincoln Park Zoo curator Diane Mulkerin says researchers will learn about the turtles’ nesting grounds, diet and preferred environment.

Ornate box turtles have been listed as a threatened species since 2009. The Fish and Wildlife Service wants to populate the area with 100 turtles by 2020.

There also are populations in Whiteside, Lee and Ogle counties.

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