Endangered Red-Bellied Cooters Emerge in Wareham

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Northern Red Bellied-Cooters Basking in Wareham, MA

Turtle Journal’s colleague Cat Honkonen found six endangered red bellied-cooters basking on rocks in a Wareham pond on Friday, March 23rd.  She snapped this photograph of four cooters enjoying the warm sunshine after emerging from winter slumber.  Northern Red Bellied-Cooters (Pseudemys rubriventris) are federally protected as threatened and are listed in Massachusetts as an endangered species by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program.

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Closeup of Basking Northern Red-Bellied Cooters

Cat is experiencing the “miracle” of elusive turtles.  She notes, “Somehow they managed to multiply over the winter.  I saw at least six (6) today.  How could they do that?  I know I only saw two (2) last year.”   Thanks to citizen scientists like Cat who monitor endangered species in Massachusetts, the knowledge they provide about locations, population size and activies ensures that we can protect these critters for future generations of Bay Staters.

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