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Japanese conservationists have sent 13 captive-bred hawksbill turtles to a Singapore aquarium for fitness testing. The goal, after a period in the aquarium, is to release the turtles into the wild. However, because the endangered species of sea turtles faces so many threats in the open ocean, managers must ensure they have developed the strength and skill necessary for survival.
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Anthony Chang, curator of the aquarium, commented:
With the success of their breeding... we would want to have some of these captive-bred turtles return to the wild...We know that on the beaches, when turtle eggs hatch, people will poach them...the turtles may be collected by people and they may be eaten up. The survivability of the small babies is very, very low.
SLIDESHOW: Wondrous Sea Turtles
Though the species is critically endangered, poaching activity is still encouraged by a demand for turtle-shell soup in parts of Asia.
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In all, the aquarium has acquired five one-year-old turtles and eight three-year-olds.
Once the turtles are ready to be released into the wild, they will be fitted with satellite transceivers so conservationists can monitor their progress.