Endangered Species Day, celebrated on May 17th, was established to raise awareness of the issues (both human-related and ecological) facing endangered species and their habitats.
To help further amplify this day, we'll be highlighting some endangered species that can be found in our home state of Maryland, at the National Aquarium and around the world! Our hope is that as this week progresses, others will feel inspired to help us protect these amazing animals!
Meet the Bog Turtle.
The bog turtle is the smallest species of turtle found in the United States (and one of the smallest species of turtle in the world)! Easy identified by the orange blotches found on either side of its head, this turtle gets its name from the areas of moist, soggy ground within wetlands known as "bogs."
Bog turtles are only commonly found throughout the Northeast coast and, unfortunately, populations have been seriously impacted by the effects of climate change. Erratic weather patterns, in particular, throw a wrench in the fragile balance between these turtles and their habitat. Other major factors for their population decline include habitat loss, due to human construction and development, as well as a high demand for the pet trade.
This species was granted protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1997 - at which time, the northern population of bog turtles (from New York to Maryland) had declined by 50 percent.
Currently, the total number of bog turtles found in the United States is unknown. The estimated range is only between 2,500 and 10,000 turtles.
Want to help the bog turtle? Join us at our next habitat restoration event!
Stay tuned for more Endangered Species Week features!