What you can do to help save local turtle species

It’s easy to take certain turtles for granted…that they’ll always be around. Especially a local species like the Northern Diamondback Terrapin. But did you know that according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), their status is ‘Near Threatened’ in the wild.

According to the Wetlands Institute of New Jersey, “Diamondback terrapins face a variety of problems attributable to human activities both historically and currently.” During the 19th and early 20th century, terrapins were hunted extensively for their meat, considered a delicacy. But more recently, they’ve lost most of their natural nesting habitats due to coastal developments and resort communities. Today, the only nesting habitats available to female terrapins along the Atlantic Coast of NJ are road crossing embankments adjacent to coastal salt marshes. According to the Wetlands, “Locally, many hundreds of adult female terrapins are maimed or die each year during the nesting season (normally late May through mid July) while attempting to cross roads in search of suitable nesting habitat…and throughout their range, thousands of terrapins die each year by drowning in commercial crab traps.”

However, thanks to organizations like the Wetlands Institute, thousands of Diamondback terrapins are rescued every year through a variety of conservation projects, including road patrols, “head-starting” hatchlings, rehabbing injured adults, studying wild populations, and public education.

And this winter, Adventure Aquarium has teamed up with the Wetlands Institute of New Jersey to raise money to help save turtles in the wild during Turtles: Journey of Survival.

HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP…

Pepe, Adventure Aquarium's Red-Footed Tortoise, models some of the Wetlands Institute's "I Brake for Turtles" swag available at Adventure Aquarium.

Pepe, Adventure Aquarium’s Red-Footed Tortoise, models some of the Wetlands Institute’s “I Brake for Turtles” swag available at Adventure Aquarium.

Purchase an “I brake for turtles” product
During your visit to Turtles: Journey of Survival, purchase specially-designed “I brake for Turtles” merchandise items, including bracelets, magnets, and a turtle pin. Proceeds directly benefit the Wetlands Institute in their fight to save turtles. All items are available at Adventure Aquarium through March 24 during the limited-engagement exhibit – Turtles: Journey of Survival.  Items are available for sale at Adventure Aquarium’s Info Desk.

Save a turtle
During your visit, guests can help “Save a Turtle” by purchasing a $1 donation card, with proceeds going directly to the Wetlands Institute in their fight to save native turtle species.

Adopt a Terrapin
Visit the Wetlands Institute online to “adopt” a local terrapin! There are various levels of donations, from $10 to $500, with your contribution going directly to help defray expenses connected with a variety of terrapin projects at the Wetlands Institute. Makes a great gift! Visit the Wetlands Institute online to donate today.

Volunteer
The Wetlands Institute is always looking for enthusiastic and responsible people to help them in fulfilling their mission “to promote appreciation, understanding and stewardship of wetlands and coastal ecosystems through our programs in research, education and conservation.” Visit the Wetlands Institute for volunteer opportunities.

Be Terrapin Aware!

Be Terrapin Aware!

Be Terrapin Aware
While driving along coastal New Jersey highways, pay special attention to any “Turtle Crossing” signs along the road. “Be Terrapin Aware.” Slow down and be on the lookout for these little guys. If you discover one in the road, carefully pick it up by its shell and put it out of harms way in the brush on the roadside. Oh, and make sure you move it in the direction it was headed! And always remember: if you spot a terrapin in the wild (especially a young hatchling), do not touch it. It should be kept as-is, and should not be removed from its natural habitat.

For more information or ways you can help, visit Adventure Aquarium or the Wetlands Institute online.

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