Monday, June 27, 2016

"Peak turtle-crossing time brings caution from advocates"

From JSOnline:

A snapping turtle is seen along a Wisconsin roadway (left) while a sign warns motorists of the potential for turtle crossings near Pell Lake (right). Credit: Heather Kaarakka, Jennifer Tschida

By Shelby Lyon of the Journal Sentinel

"Why have turtles been crossing the road in Wisconsin?

"Because it's mating season and female turtles are headed to their dry, upland nesting sites.

"The roads that crisscross many of Wisconsin's wetland areas often divide turtle territories and sometimes even provide an attractive nesting site in the roadside sand and gravel. Each year, this leads to thousands of turtle deaths. Most are killed when they are hit by vehicles while crossing roads during mating season, which in Wisconsin occurs from late May to early July.

"'You talk to anyone about turtles and it's amazing how passionate they get about protecting them,' said Andrew Badje, conservation biologist with the Wisconsin Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation. 'On the highways along the Mississippi River, over a hundred turtles are hit each year.'

"The Wisconsin Turtle Road Crossing Initiative is a campaign by the Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program to help protect turtles by establishing turtle crossing signs and underpasses."

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