QUEENS, N.Y. – It’s mating season for Diamondback Terrapins from Jamaica Bay in New York, which happens to be right outside JFK’s runways.
The turtles wander onto the airport’s runways looking for a place to lay their eggs because of the loose sand grounds surrounding the airport’s barriers.
According to Laura Francoeur, Chief Wildlife Biologist for the Aviation Department, the barriers are made of fence and black plastic tubing to prevent the soon-to-be mom turtles from entering the airfield and being struck by airplanes.
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Francoeur says 13,000 terrapins used to enter the runways back in 2012, before the barriers were built and that thanks to them, the numbers have decreased by at least 50%.
The runaway turtles have caused several flight delays. Francoeur and her team are responsible for the safety of the reptiles, and remove the turtles to take them back to their natural habitat.