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One of 52 Blanding’s turtles released Wednesday at a DuPage County Forest Preserve site. (Ashley Hosmer / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum)

After spending their first year at Chicago’s Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, dozens of endangered Blanding’s turtles were released into the wild as part of a preservation effort that started more than 20 years ago.

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The Blanding’s turtle is classified as endangered in Illinois. (Courtesy Chicago Wilderness)

The Trump administration’s move to effectively weaken protections under the landmark law could have stark consequences for the 480 plant and animal species classified as endangered or threatened within Illinois. 

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In this Feb. 1, 2016 file photo, a bald eagle takes flight at the Museum of the Shenandaoh Valley in Winchester, Virginia.  (Scott Mason / The Winchester Star via AP, File)

Under the enforcement changes, officials for the first time will be able to publicly attach a cost to saving an animal or plant. Blanket protections for creatures newly listed as threatened will be removed. 

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A rusty-patched bumble bee (U.S Fish and Wildlife Service / Wikimedia Commons)

It’s been a rough few decades for the rusty patched bumblebee. Once widespread in Illinois and throughout much of the U.S., the species has lost nearly 90% of its population over the past 20 years.

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A red wolf pup at Lincoln Park Zoo (Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo)

From rare blind salamanders to adorable red wolf pups, here’s our guide to the newest and most unique animals to visit in and around Chicago. 

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A newborn rhino calf at Lincoln Park Zoo stood on all four legs just 53 minutes after birth. (Courtesy Lincoln Park Zoo)

After 15 months of pregnancy, Lincoln Park Zoo rhinoceros Kapuki gave birth to a new calf Sunday. And just 53 minutes after birth, it was able to stand up on all four legs.

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Rollie, a western lowland gorilla at Lincoln Park Zoo, with her male infant, who was born May 12. (Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo)

Mother’s Day was extra special for Rollie, a western lowland gorilla at Lincoln Park Zoo who gave birth to a male last weekend. 

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The cubs’ arrival – the first litter born at the zoo since 2010 – is a bright spot for one of the world’s most endangered wolf species.

Pair of Brookfield Polar Bears Involved in Artificial Insemination

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Chicago Zoological Society veterinary staff position Hudson, Brookfield Zoo’s 12-year-old male polar bear, in preparation for a CT scan. (Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society)

Hudson, a 1,000-pound male polar bear at Brookfield Zoo, underwent a historic checkup this week when he received a CT scan and had semen collected, which was used to inseminate two female polar bears. 

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Conservation advocates worry that proposed legislation in Illinois could make it harder to protect vulnerable populations of monarch butterflies, which face a number of threats in the state. (Patrick Williams / Openlands)

A pair of bills would strip the state of its authority to regulate endangered species that are protected at the federal level but that might require further protections within Illinois.

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Kapuki, a 13-year-old female eastern black rhinoceros at Lincoln Park Zoo (Courtesy Lincoln Park Zoo)

Kapuki, a 13-year-old eastern black rhinoceros, is expected to give birth to a baby calf in May. 

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A gorilla at Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Joe McKenna / Wikimedia Commons)

Mining for coltan, a mineral compound used to make cellphones and other small electronics, has displaced large numbers of Eastern gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

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A chimpanzee in the Goualougo Triangle, part of the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo. (Kyle de Nobrega / Wildlife Conservation Society)

The complex and relatively advanced cultures of chimpanzees are disappearing as human beings encroach on previously undisturbed areas of African forest, according to a new study involving researchers from Lincoln Park Zoo.

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David, a young male pangolin, is part of Brookfield Zoo’s “Habitat Africa! The Forest” exhibit. (Credit: Chicago Zoological Society)

Researchers estimate that more than one million pangolins have been taken from the wild over the past decade as demand has soared for their meat and scales. What one local institution is doing to save these scaly anteaters.

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Shirlee, a Blanding’s turtle, as a new hatchling in 2017 (Courtesy Forest Preserve District of DuPage County)

A rare yellow-hued Blanding’s turtle who called Chicago home has moved out to the suburbs, where she’s helping to spread the word about the plight of her endangered species throughout Illinois.

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Apache, foreground, a 7-year-old old male Mexican wolf recently arrived at Brookfield Zoo to be paired with 2-year-old Ela. (Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society)

Zoo officials say they’re hopeful that 2-year-old Ela and newcomer Apache, 7, will have a successful breeding season this winter and produce a litter of wolf pups in the spring.