For Guardians of Rare Turtles, an Unprecedented Sight

Hatchlings of critically endangered species recorded emerging for the first time
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2023 9:15 AM CDT

Conservationists are celebrating an unprecedented sight in regard to a species of turtle on the brink of extinction: A batch of babies emerged from the mud in Myanmar, and their human guardians were able to record it for the first time in the wild, reports the New York Times. The conservation group Fauna & Flora International released video of the Burmese peacock softshell turtles, a total of 15 newcomers. The turtles are found only in Myanmar, per IFL Science, which notes that the IUCN Red List regards them as "critically endangered"—only two categories remain after that, "extinct in the wild" and "extinct," period.

The freshwater turtles have been pushed to the brink because of two factors: They are in high demand in East Asian food markets, and their habitat is being steadily wiped out, per Insider. Fauna & Flora teamed up with local volunteers to protect nesting sites near one of Myanmar's largest inland lakes, Indawgyi, and that's where the hatchlings emerged. It is "exquisitely thrilling," biology professor Fredric Janzen of Michigan State University, who was not involved in the project, tells the Times. Already, scientists have learned something: The eggs took nine months to hatch, much longer than the eggs of other species. (More endangered species stories.)

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