‘Turtley’ enjoyable events planned at Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center
The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) is offering two opportunities for guests to step into the shoes of a life scientist and learn about the more than 300 recognized species of turtles that inhabit the waters around the world. In celebration of World Turtle Day, events will take place at both the Detroit Zoo and the Belle Isle Nature Center on Thursday, May 23, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Boardwalk of the Zoo’s Cotton Family Wetlands will provide guests views of turtles in a natural setting while learning fun facts about the species that live at the Detroit Zoo and efforts to conserve them in the wild. Zookeeper talks will be held at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Through hands-on activities, visitors will be able to measure the weight and length of life-like turtle figures and use binoculars to find and identify different species.
At the Belle Isle Nature Center, guests will be able to participate in crafts, discover the role turtles play in the ecosystem and go on a turtle-spotting adventure both indoors and out.
“More than half of all turtle species across the globe are facing extinction,” said DZS Chief Life Sciences Officer Scott Carter. “Several of these, such as the McCord’s box turtle and the western pond turtle, can be seen in the Detroit Zoo’s Holden Reptile Conservation Center. World Turtle Day is a great opportunity for people to learn about turtles and what’s happening to them around the world.”
Visitors will learn about the many ways the DZS is working to ensure the survival of turtles around the globe, including through the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program. SAFE animals – which include the western pond turtle – are critically endangered species that the DZS and other AZA-accredited zoos are working together to save from extinction.
The DZS led a head-start program to help young endangered Blanding’s turtles thrive in the wild with the help of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge and students at University of Michigan Flint. Through scientific research, the DZS’s Center for Zoo and Aquarium Animal Welfare and Ethics developed a connection between turtle personalities and their survival in the wild. The DZS also supports the Turtle Survival Alliance, an organization working to protect and study turtles and tortoises in India, Southeast Asia, Africa and South America.
The Detroit Zoological Society – a renowned leader in humane education, wildlife conservation, animal welfare and environmental sustainability – operates the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center. With an annual regional economic impact of more than $167 million, the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak is one of Michigan’s largest paid family attractions, hosting more than 1.3 million visitors annually. Its 125 acres of award-winning naturalistic habitats are home to 2,400 animals representing 235 species. The Belle Isle Nature Center sits on a 5-acre site surrounded by undisturbed forested wetlands on Belle Isle State Park in Detroit. It provides year-round educational, recreational and environmental conservation opportunities for the community. For hours, prices, directions and other information, call (248) 541-5717 or visit detroitzoo.org.
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