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Endangered Baby Turtles Make CT Debut

SoundWaters home to 22 baby diamondback terrapins

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Stamford, CT | Added on February 11, 2015 At 06:00 PM

22 endangered baby diamondback terrapins have a new home at the SoundWaters Coastal Education Center. While their journey to Stamford wasn't an easy one, the hatchlings will serve as an important teaching tool for the community.

"One way we teach with terrapins is their story and human impact, which was very negative. They were gone, they were turtle soup, literally, in the United States," said Dr. Leigh Shemitz, President & Executive Director of SoundWaters.

Last fall, 211 baby turtles were confiscated from international smugglers in Alaska. In December, the turtles were shipped to permanent new homes at SoundWaters and 13 other facilities across the U.S.

"They were being smuggled to China which is part of a whole international problem for turtle and other reptiles internationally. It is a global problem that we are looking at a local solution here," said Dr. Shemitz.

Now the SoundWaters lab has turned into a terrapin nursery, were all 22 hatchlings are thriving.

"As the grow, we will use them in our teachings. They will go out to schools, students will study them here in the lab and learn about several things like adapations, camouflage and stewardship and human impact on the environment all through this amazing creature, said Dr. Shemitz.

Wednesday afternoon, the little turtles took their first big dip in the terrapin exhibit.

"We won't end up with hundreds of terrapins at SoundWaters but we very well might use our nursery to save more and perhaps share them with other educational facilites," said Dr. Shemitz.

A public open house will be announced once the hatchlings have grown up a little more in the Spring of 2015. You can find out more information about the diamondback terrapin by visiting

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