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Rescuing Orphaned Blandings Turtles

  • Tuesday June 22nd 2021
  • conservation, news, media

Blandings Turtles 4

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium


SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium Helps Repopulate Southeast Michigan Habitats with Blandings Turtles

AUBURN HILLS, June 22, 2021– Dozens of orphaned blandings turtles were released into a Holly Township wetlands on Monday by SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium marine biologists and local herpetologists. Blandings turtles are a threatened local species.

The release event was part of an annual cooperative conservation project between SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium, Herpetological Resource Management LLC, & Consumer’s Energy.

“Blanding’s turtles like to travel to dig nests and bury their eggs” said Lauren Marcon, lead aquarist at SEA LIFE Michigan. “Due to habitat loss, the females will cross busy roads, looking for suitable nesting grounds. This sometimes results in roadside mortalities and, in many cases, the females haven’t had the chance to lay their eggs yet. It’s really sad.”

SEA LIFE Aquarium’s partner organization, Herpetological Resources Management LLC locates, harvests & hatches orphaned blandings turtle eggs, then gives them to SEA LIFE Aquarium to raise.

“We take care of the turtle hatchlings for 6-8 months, or until they’re big enough to dramatically increase their chances at survival in the wild” said Lauren. “Then, once they’ve grown, we work with the folks at Herpetological Resource Management to find a suitable local habitat & release the turtles back into the wild.”

Local populations of blandings turtles have been on the decline in recent years due to extensive habitat loss and pollution. Blandings turtles are now a species of concern throughout Michigan.

“Many turtles don’t reach reproductive age until they are ten to fifteen years old, so it is important that the genetics of each breeding female to move on into the next generation” said Asher Berg, curator at SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium.

SEA LIFE participates in many conservation projects and initiatives including protecting Michigan’s lake sturgeon, cleaning up local watersheds, and preserving endangered species of coral from the Florida Reef Tract.


About SEA LIFE Michigan

SEA LIFE Michigan is a 26,000-square-foot aquarium in Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Great Lakes Crossing Outlets. As the 7th SEA LIFE location in the United States, and the 42nd in the world, SEA LIFE Michigan features engaging, educational and one-of-a-kind experiences that bring guests nose-to-nose with more than 2,000 amazing creatures, including sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, rescued green sea turtles and much, much more. SEA LIFE provides a glimpse of the diversity of marine life while also playing an active role in animal and environmental conservation. Visitors will see strong evidence of SEA LIFE’s Breed, Rescue and Protect activities around the world, including new projects developed locally. For more information, visit


About Merlin Entertainments

MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS plc is the leading name in location-based, family entertainment. Europe’s Number 1 and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin now operates 111 attractions, 12 hotels/4 holiday villages in 23 countries and across 4 continents. The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its almost 63 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and 26,000 employees (peak season).

Merlin has twenty five attractions and two hotels in North America - including two stunning LEGOLAND Resorts – in Florida and California; The Orlando Eye; six Madame Tussauds celebrity wax attractions; nine LEGOLAND Discovery Centers; a Dungeon in San Francisco; and eight SEA LIFE Aquariums. Visit for more information.