A big day for tiny turtles along the shores of Lake Champlain. Wednesday, 19 babies were released into the water after a winter at ECHO aquarium.
Spiny softshell turtles are a threatened species in Vermont, with only about 200-300 breeding adults living in the lake.
ECHO and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department have partnered for the past decade to keep the little reptiles alive. The turtles spend Vermont's harsh winters getting stronger in the safety of a tank. Wednesday, volunteers gathered in North Hero to release them back into the wild.
"So much of the shoreline is developed, so if you have turtles nesting, that's pretty special and if you can share a little bit of your shoreline with the turtles, that's pretty great," said Steve Parren of Vt. Fish and Wildlife.
Experts remind folks not to disturb nesting and basking turtles. They say it may force the shy species into the water prematurely, decreasing their chances of survival.
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