Wildlife researchers have released four rare bog turtles into the wild. These turtles (Glyptemys muhlenbergii), considered the rarest turtle species in North America, marked the first group of the federally threatened species to be let loose in Georgia.
State biologists said the release denoted the first signs of progress of a publicly funded program aimed at the restoration of north Georgia’s increasingly sparse mountain bog habitat.
These four-inch-long turtles once thrived in treeless bogs at the foothills of north Georgia’s mountains, where they adapted to the acidic, nutrient-poor soil. However, as builders drained and later filled the bogs, transforming the former backwaters into new frontiers for development, entire turtle communities were wiped out.
Today, less than an estimated 10,000 bog turtles remain on the continent scattered from Georgia to Connecticut. In a bid to keep the dwindling population afloat, wildlife groups such as the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell, north of Atlanta, introduced breeding programs and attached tracking devices to the shells of the recently released turtles.