Do you love turtles? I love Turtles! Do you want to do something to help preserve turtles and their habitat? I know I do! Houston Zoo keepers have planned an awesome turtle bonanza weekend for all you turtle lovers!! Starting Friday, January 20th the East Texas Herpetological Society is hosting a lecture by our very own Houston Zoo Keeper, Jordan Gray about the Jewel of the Salt Marsh, the Diamondback Terrapin. The Diamondback Terrapins lives exclusively in brackish water and was once hunted to the brink of extinction for use in turtle soup. Although numbers appear to have rebounded considerably, their population status along the Texas coastline is not fully known. Due to its unique requirements this species remains especially susceptible to local extinction. Potential threats to survival include habitat alteration, crab trap bycatch, boating, and other human activities. Natural disasters such as hurricanes may also negatively impact the species because of the fragile nature of its limited range. Extensive field research will lead to a better understanding of this species in Texas and offer potential strategies to ensure its continued survival. This free lecture will be at the Houston Zoo Brown Education Building. Doors open at 7:30 and enter through Gate 5. Enjoy refreshments at 7:30 pm and talk begins at 8:00 pm. Enjoy the rest of your weekend here at the Houston Zoo for the Spotlight On Species Event for the Diamondback Terrapins at the Reptile Building from 10 am to 3 pm Saturday, January 21st and Sunday, January 22nd. There will be crafts to do, activities, and keeper chats galore! You can even leave the Zoo with information on how to help the Houston Zoo Conservation Department with their annual Crab Trap Clean up next month. Please come out to the SOS event next weekend and stop by the Crab Trap Clean Up booth in front of the Reptiles Building for more information. Together we can help turtles!!
By: Rachel Godambe, Natural Encounters Keeper