Brevard Zoo Conservation Report 2016 | Page 16

Diamondback Terrapin Study Submit your sightings at A diamond in the marsh Diamondback terrapins, native to the brackish areas along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, were once considered very tasty turtles. In the early 1900s, these beautiful reptiles were a much sought-after delicacy, and as a result, their populations were heavily overharvested. These days, terrapins are a protected species in several states, but in Florida, scientists believe the population may be in decline throughout the Indian River Lagoon system. In 2013, we began collaborating with partners like the Florida Department of 15 Environmental Protection, Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves (IRLAP), Florida Institute of Technology and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to create and promote an online reporting system to collect enough data on these turtles to support large-scale conservation efforts. Because of the Zoo's and IRLAP's efforts, the diamondback terrapin has been recognized by a species in need and the state has hired an employee to focus on conservation efforts. Gallery