OSSINING, N.Y. -- More than 20 snapping turtles have found a new home at Ossining's Teatown Lake Reservation.
The Department of Environmental Conservation took in 23 adult snapping turtles from a Chinatown food market where the owner had recently "illegally purchased the wild collected turtles," according to a press release from Teatown. DEC officers Machnica and Brent Wilson said the turtles were suffering from "dehydration and minor wounds" and later took the 23 turtles to Teatown's Animal Care staffers and NYS certified wildlife rehabilitators Erin Baker and Lisa Kelly, according to the release.
“As wildlife rehabilitators it is our job not just to ensure the individual animals’ health, but to also consider any impacts to the wild population if released," Baker said in the release ."Once deemed healthy, we will evaluate proper release sites for these sizable turtles, so as not to overpopulate any one particular pond. It will be a large number of road trips throughout the region undoubtedly.”
Snapping turtles have a reputation for being dangerous, but Baker said they are vital to the local ecosystem.
"Most species of turtles worldwide are in a state of decline due to over-harvesting and habitat loss, and I am glad that our DEC enforces the law to protect all native turtles," she said in the release. "While considered common, and intimidating by some, these large prehistoric snappers are quite docile in their ponds where they help provide a proper balance to our ecosystems. And they are, after all, our New York state reptile."
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