Rescued Turtle Returns To The Wetlands Institute 19 Years After The Group First Saved Her In New Jersey

Photos from The Wetlands Institute

A remarkable reminder of how critical conservation work is to protect all species. Earlier this month, The Wetlands Institute rescued an extremely special turtle that the New Jersey-based nonprofit helped to save close to two decades ago.

“A concerned citizen found this female Terrapin crossing a street in Stone Harbor and fearing for her safety, brought her to the Institute,” explained a post on The Wetlands Institute Facebook page on July 15th. “So why is she so special? She was a head-starter released at the Institute in 2000, and hadn’t been seen since, until last Friday, 19 years after her release, almost to the day.”

According to the organization, a “head-starter” is a turtle usually hatched from eggs recovered from a mother struck by a vehicle on its way to lay eggs.

As noted by, The Wetlands Institute incubates and hatches the rescued eggs, keeping them for a year. Tags, which include information about the turtle that are placed under the animal’s skin, helped to identify this female turtle as a former head-starter.

The organization stresses that people should use caution when driving near the marsh. Sadly, it is not uncommon for female terrapins to be hit by cars when they cross the road to lay their eggs on land.

“Over the course of 19 years in the marsh, she had more than doubled in size, growing into a healthy adult,” continued the post, which also mentioned that she had scars most likely from boat propellers. “We released her safely back into the marsh, wishing her well as she left.”

WAN is grateful to all of the animal advocates and conservationists throughout the world who work tirelessly to protect and save all sentient beings like this brave girl.

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