The Box Turtle Connection
Since 2009, Piedmont Wildlife Center has been taking part in a study focused on the Eastern Box Turtle. This treasured native species is in need of special attention because the populations of Eastern Box Turtles across the country are showing signs of decline due to habitat fragmentation. The Box Turtle Connection is an ecological study that is combined with a citizen based effort to understand movements, hibernation, food habits and more.
As a part of this project, we are actively monitoring the Eastern Box Turtle population here at Leigh Farm Park, by using radio telemetry. Radio telemetry is a form of technology that helps us locate specific turtles that have been affixed with transmitters. With the help of volunteer interns, we are collecting census, habitat and movement data by tracking box turtles on a weekly basis. Wildlife Conservationists across North Carolina are using the population data to generate a plan to help protect the turtle and its habitats.
By studying turtles, we have learned much about the health of the populations in this area. After two years of monitoring, we have found more than 160 individual turtles in approximately 100 acres!
Our newest goal is to document box turtles in urban settings. The Box Turtle Connection has been monitoring turtles in areas such as state and city parks, but we don’t have a great idea about the population of turtles in urban and suburban settings. We need your help to do so and hope you will join our Box Turtle Neighborhood Watch! We are also working with WildTrack (a non-profit) to create a photo ID app for cellphones to make it easier to document turtles.
For more information, check out this video: http://science.unctv.org/content/100-year-turtle-project