Chinese Invasive Turtles Spotted In New England, Concerning U.S. Experts

Posted: Sep 13 2015, 9:20pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


Chinese Invasive Turtles Spotted in New England Beach
Softshell turtle

U.S wildlife experts are concerned seeing two Chinese native turtles in the area as these foreign aniamls can prove harmful for the local ecosystem.

Two soft-shelled marsh turtles have been spotted in the region of New England. The presence of these Chinese native turtles has alarmed the U.S. wildlife experts as they can be a threat to the local ecosystem if they establish a population.

“The concern is that if it can establish a population, it actually can survive our winters,” said New England Aquarium CEO, Nigella Hillgarth. “It could cause major changes in the ecosystem. None of the animals in that ecosystem are adapted to a predator of that size. It eats large amounts of small fish, mussels, clams and insects.”

The turtles were recently sighted in Wollaston Beach in Quincy on two separate occasions. Later, they were picked up by the aquarium’s rescue team to identify the species as those turtles do not seem to belong to the area. 

“The event was noteworthy, but the sighting to another similar turtle in the same area later this week has raised alarm among wildlife officials as it appears that someone is releasing this non-native and potentially invasive species into local waters.” Dr. Charlie Innis, aquarium head veterinarian said. 

What kind of impact these foreign turtles may have on the local environment is still unclear but, most experts believe that they can be detrimental for the local ecosystem and its inhabitants.

Odd-looking marsh turtles are mostly raised in China for eating and traded to other parts of the world as well. Aquarium representatives believe that someone here in the south of Boston must have purchased them for cooking but changed their mind and released them into the wild.

Chinese softshell turtles have remarkable features. They are flat as pancake and have a long, pointy nose. It’s like a periscope that allows them to breathe in the water. These turtles are mostly found buried in sand or mud and lift their head only if need to catch prey or breathe.

Source: CBS Bsoton

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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