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Turtle hatching highlights behind the scenes work at Oklahoma City Zoo

The Oklahoma City Zoo recently welcomed a Madagascar Flat-tailed turtle into its collection, but it's an animal most visitors will never see.
by Matt Patterson Published: February 11, 2013

“It's great when a new institution comes along and hatches one,” Ogle said. “For the long term survival we need to have these first generation animals raised up.

Then they eventually become breeders.”

Ogle said Oklahoma City's location also makes the hatchling all the more unique.

“It is somewhat rare,” he said. “Most of the zoos that have had success have been southeastern zoos because they really like humidity. You have to give them a lot of respect for the amount of time and effort they have put into making this happen.”

It's an effort that usually goes unnoticed by zoo visitors. Neither the hatchling nor the two males at the zoo will be put on display.

“They are very shy and reclusive animals,” Sekscienski said. “Other zoos that have tried to put them on exhibit have found that they usually perish in a few months. They don't make great exhibit animals anyway. They are active right when the sun comes out and then bury themselves during the middle of the day.”

Still, helping a species survive is work that is taken very seriously by the keepers involved in the hatchling project. Rachel Carpinski was the first zoo staffer to discover the incubated egg had hatched, something she said was exciting to experience.

“I take great satisfaction in knowing I have a role in their population growth and making sure they continue to live on,” she said.

by Matt Patterson
Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun....
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