The 20 European pond terrapins are direct descendents of the last surviving wild terrapin found in the area.
The reptiles were common in the wetter parts of north Brandenburg and southern Mecklenburg until the 1950s when the intensification of agriculture in East Germany practically wiped them out.
Ponds were drained and wild corners tamed, leaving nowhere for the terrapins to live. Slow movers, they hibernate for up to seven months a year at the bottom of ponds, leaving them vulnerable to swift change.
Conservationists have been carrying out a breeding programme for the last 15 years to save them from extinction and in the hope of being able to restock the region.