Aquarium welcomes 5 baby turtles of endangered species

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) – Five baby turtles of an endangered species have hatched at the Tennessee Aquarium.

In a statement, the aquarium tells media outlets that the Beal’s-eyed turtles were born recently.

Officials say there are only 20 Beal’s-eyed turtles in U.S. facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, all of which are at the Tennessee Aquarium.

Bill Hughes, senior herpetologist at the aquarium, says the new turtles will be on display for the public sometime this year, but the exact time is unknown.

The species, which is native to China, has been listed as endangered since 2000. Hughes says the current recommendation is to list them as critically endangered, meaning they face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

The first Beal’s-eyed turtle hatched at the aquarium in 2007.