One of the world’s rarest turtles has hatched at Chester Zoo: a Chinese Three-striped Box Turtle, a Critically Endangered species, emerged from its egg after an 85-day incubation period.
Despite their name, Chinese Three-striped Box Turtles are found not only in China but also in Vietnam, Hong Kong, and areas of Laos and Myanmar. They are regarded by conservationists as one of the top 10 most threatened turtles on the planet.
The zoo’s new youngster weighed just over half an ounce at hatching. Keepers have named it Satsuma after the petite Satsuma Mandarin orange due to the Turtles’ small stature and soft orange color.
Photo Credit: Chester Zoo
The Turtles’ beautiful coloring is partly to blame for its endangered status: They and many other Turtle species are widely collected in Southeast Asia for food and their supposed medicinal properties, which are unproven. They also command high black market prices within the pet trade.
Zoo managers hope that this little Turtle’s arrival can shine a light on the issues facing the species and influence the fight to save Asian Turtles.
Chester Zoo is part of efforts to breed safely net populations of the 10 Turtle species most at risk of extinction. The zoo also works in Sumatra and Philippines where it is helping to protect nesting areas and habitat for critically endangered species.