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Fri, Jul 01, 2011

Turtles Temporarily Close Runway At JFK

Diamondback Terrapins Had To Cross Runway To Get To Nesting Area

About 150 diamondback terrapins making their way to prime nesting grounds had a barrier in their way ... Runway 4 at JFK Airport in New York. When they began to cross the runway about 0645 EDT Wednesday, traffic on that runway was shut down until they could make the journey.

Carol Bannerman of the USDA told CNN that the sandy areas that are near the runway are ideal for nesting and fertilization of the reptile's eggs. Port Authority spokesman Ron Marisco said it happens every year, but some years there are more turtles than others.

This year, though, the turtles went viral. Within 8 hours, @JFKTurtles had nearly 3000 followers on Twitter.

The FAA has not released data on how many flights were delayed by the crossing. FAA spokeswoman Arlene Salac said Runway 4 is not often used during the summer due to prevailing winds.

FMI: www.panynj.gov/airports/jfk.html

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