CENTRAL WISCONSIN (WAOW) — Wisconsin DNR’s ‘Turtle Road Crossing Initiative’ aims to lower mortality rates of turtles during the nesting season with help of community members.
Every year from late May to early July, female turtles leave wetlands to lay eggs and often have to cross roads to do so.
The DNR says turtles are often hit by vehicles during this time period.
If you see a turtle crossing a road, the best way to help is to pick the turtle up at the back end of its shell and bring it to the side of the road it was facing.
“Make sure that they’re putting themselves first because we don’t want anyone to be hurt in the process,” said DNR Conservation Biologist Andrew Badje.
It’s also crucial that you don’t just return them to the wetland it may be leaving, as that could lead to more work for the turtle, who may go right back to where it was.
In Wisconsin, there are 11 different species of turtles but community members will commonly see snapping and painted turtles.
Turtles play important roles in our ecosystems by digging and churning the soil, promoting fertile ground.
Although snapping turtles are often feared for their aggressive nature, they act as a disposal for our wetlands.
“So basically anything that’s decaying, they help clean up the ecosystem,” said Badje.
If the community members help turtles crossing or spot them around the community, the DNR asks you to go to their website and fill out an online spotting form.
Every form submitted helps to ensure a healthy turtle population.
For more information about the DNR’s Turtle Conservation Program visit here.