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Nahant Marsh Helping to Rebuild At Risk Species

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Nahant Marsh
One of the young Blanding's Turtles released at Nahant Marsh

Nahant Marsh in Davenport is helping to re-build a species considered threatened and endangered.

Wednesday morning, four young Blanding's Turtles were released in the marsh.

Nahant's Research Coordinator, Jimmy Wiebler, says they're considered "threatened" in Iowa, and "endangered" in Illinois - due to loss of habitat.

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Nahant Marsh
a Blanding's Turtle

"Compared with other turtle species they take a longer time to reach sexual maturity, to reproduce, so from what I've read they take on average 18 years or so to sexually mature, and so since it takes them such a long time to reach that maturity, it can be particularly hard for a population to bounce back."

Other turtle species can begin to reproduce within five to six years.

Wiebler says Blanding's Turtles have a highly-domed dark shell, a bright yellow chin and neck, and an up-turned mouth that makes it look like they're smiling.

The newly-released young turtles carry transmitters so he and other researchers can better understand how they live and reproduce. Nahant has 13 more Blanding's eggs in an incubator, and could release them next year.