A dozen rare turtles have been released into their natural habitat, thanks to mindful pipeline crews.

Twelve blanding turtle eggs and three adult blanding turtles, an endangered species, were found in a wetland while a Consumers Energy crew was working on a pipeline project in James Township.

The turtles and the eggs were given to a consumer’s herpetologist. The adults were released last fall, but the eggs were incubated over the winter.

The eggs hatched and on Thursday the baby turtles were released into a wetland area in Saginaw.

"Today is one of those days where we really focus on planet while doing something good for the state of Michigan and this pipeline project," said Charles Crews, vice president of gas operations for Consumers Energy.

Crews said this is one project they are proud to be a part of. He said they employed the use of a local herpetologist, or reptile expert, to keep this species safe.

"We are seeing a decline in Michigan," said David Mifsud.

Mifsud has been fascinated by reptiles his whole life and is even employed by Consumers himself. He said his passion for these animals is what led him to be a part of this project.

"The turtles' markings on their back and on their body help protect them from predators. So once they're released into their natural habitat they'll be safe," Mifsud said.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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