Ornate Box Turtle Press Materials

Threatened Ornate Box Turtles Hatch at Chicago Zoos, Prepare for Release

Turtles given a head-start at Lincoln Park Zoo and Brookfield Zoo with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 

Chicago (September 8, 2015) – The last of 26 ornate box turtles hatched at Lincoln Park Zoo and Brookfield Zoo this week as a part of an effort to restore native populations in Western Illinois. The hatchlings come from nine different clutches provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). 

“Each year we learn more about ornate box turtles and their preferred temperature for incubation and what conditions best enable them to grow before returning to their native habitat,” said Diane Mulkerin, curator for Lincoln Park Zoo. “The collaboration among conservation organizations enables us to take the head-start program one step further by increasing the number of turtles we re-introduce each year.”

The turtles will remain at their respective zoos for the next several months where they can thrive without the threat of predation or disease. Once the animals grow both in size and strength, they will be re-introduced into sand prairies protected by the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Savannah, Ill.

 “We’re thrilled to be working with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Lincoln Park Zoo on this hatch and head-start program for the Illinois state-listed ’Threatened’ ornate box turtle,” said Andy Snider, curator of herps and aquatics for the Chicago Zoological Society, which operates Brookfield Zoo. “Assisting in cooperative conservation projects for local species, such as this, is one of many ways zoos can contribute to the overall health and welfare of wild populations.”

For more information on Lincoln Park Zoo visit www.lpzoo.org and for more information on CZS/Brookfield Zoo visit www.czs.org.



Media Contacts

Sondra Katzen
CZS/Brookfield Zoo
(708) 688-8351



Jillian Braun
Lincoln Park Zoo
(312) 742-5791

About Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo, a historic Chicago landmark founded in 1868, is dedicated to connecting people with nature by providing a free, family-oriented wildlife experience. A leader in conservation science both globally and locally, the zoo exemplifies the highest quality animal care and educational outreach. The not-for-profit zoo, managed by The Lincoln Park Zoological Society, is a member-supported organization and one of the nation’s only free, privately managed zoos. For more information, call 312 -742-2000 or visit www.lpzoo.org.


About Chicago’s Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo

The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, inspires conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. For further information, visit www.CZS.org.






Ornate Box Turtle Video  (58MB .mp4)


Photography Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo