Several Northeast Ohio groups are working together in an ongoing effort to ensure the survival of the spotted turtle. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources lists the species as “threatened.”
Six female turtles were released this past Friday, according to Tami Brown. Brown is the general manager of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, which cares for the turtles before they are released.
“This class of turtles is the largest that has been released at just six,” Brown says. “And that sounds like a drop in the bucket, but over time they can have an effect to the hundreds. So, it’s really that effort to that pyramid thing, if you will, that we’re looking at over time.”
Brown says the spotted turtle population is declining because of black-market poaching, an increase in natural predators and changes in habitat. The turtles are about half-a-foot long and are easily recognizable by their yellow spots.