Cool Science
Big Conservationists

January 12, 2016

When water buffaloes helped save rare turtles.

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Photo Credit: ©Lisa Eidlin/WCS
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Photo Credit: ©Lisa Eidlin/WCS

How do you transport thousands of turtles to the remote wilderness? Turns out water buffaloes are a fine choice.

You may have caught this story when it first broke: thousands of freshwater turtles, including over 3,800 critically endangered Philippine forest turtles, were confiscated earlier this year by the Philippine authorities in a warehouse raid.

You may have missed the water buffaloes that pulled them to safety, though.

At the time, conservationists from around the world, including experts from WCS, rushed to the Philippines to help save the animals, which had had insufficient access to food or water.

Once nursed back to health, the turtles needed to be returned to the wild. To prevent them from being recaptured, remote release sites were chosen. The water buffaloes pulled crates of turtles through dense forest to the turtles' new homes.

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