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Turtle Time: Official Says Public Stepping Up To Help

Wisconsin DNR

The public is taking a greater interest in protecting Wisconsin's native turtle populations according to a DNR biologist.

Andrew Badje says there's been a nearly 50 percent increase in turtle crossing reports in the last year and a growing number of landowners taking action to protect turtle nests from raccoons, a chief predator. With the weather warming, Badje says females are moving into upland areas to lay eggs. He says the turtles face traffic in many places as they cross roads to get to the uplands. The public can help...

"Help turtles cross the road as long as it's in a safe manner to them and other people driving around. What the DNR is looking for is to just continue to catalog where these road crossings are so the DNR can figure out exactly where these high-level crossings are..."

Since the DNR began requesting turtle crossing reports in 2012, the public has provided 2,903 turtle crossing location reports, with nearly 1,000 crossings identified in 2019 alone. Of those, Badje and colleagues have identified 47 locations as particularly deadly for turtles. Some turtle species take many years to reproduce and with predation, very few make it to reproductive maturity. The loss of an adult turtle has long term effects on populations.

Badje says the public can also help by building protective areas around the nests..

"The Northwoods has plenty of lakes you will have plenty of turtles nesting on people's properties. That would be a good opportunity since we're homebound more to get some of those nests to successful hatching rates...."

We have a link here for more information on Wisconsin's turtles and a video how you can build a small protective spot around the turtle nests.

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