WATERLOO -- The first of many turtles have hatched at the RARE charitable reserve in Cambridge, and are soon going to be returned to the wild.

Tuesday marked the first hatch of what is expected to be nearly 2,000 turtle births over the next few days.

“They are really great scavengers, so they will clean up the local water ways of dead fish, dead corpses, that sort of thing,” said Sarah Marshall of RARE. “They keep our water clean and we really like having them around.”

The RARE program collects turtle eggs from vulnerable locations across Waterloo Region and Wellington County.

The babies are then returned to a safe place after they are born.