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Rare Chinese box turtles hatched at Bronx zoo (VIDEO)

There are estimated to be only about 150 of the turtles left in the wild making the hatching a historic event for the species.

box turtles bronxEnlarge
The Bronx Zoo in New York City has hatched five rare Chinese yellow-headed box turtles. (Handout/Getty Images)

The Bronx Zoo in New York said that it had hatched very rare Chinese yellow-headed box turtles.

There are estimated to be only about 150 of the turtles left in the wild making the hatching a historic event for the species.

The Wall Street Journal said the population of the turtle declined dramatically due to human consumption, pollution, loss of habitat and the pet trade.

They also reported that the turtle is used in traditional medicine.

NY1 reported that the baby turtles will stay at the zoo to ensure that genetic diversity in the species is maintained.

Some will later be introduced into the wild, said the Wildlife Conservation Society, according to LiveScience.

The turtle is native to eastern China.

LiveScience said special care had to be taken to create the environmental and climate conditions for mating.

In nature the box turtle spends most of its time hanging out near swamps eating plants.

Some have been known to be carnivorous.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/121217/rare-chinese-box-turtles-hatched-at-bronx-zoo-video