Wisconsin's DNR reminds people to be aware of turtle nesting season and help in conservation efforts

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- May 23 is World Turtle Day! May is the time of year when turtles begin to merge from rivers, lakes and wetlands to lay their eggs.

Wisconsin is home to 11 different turtle species. Throughout May and June, mothers often travel to roads and residential yards to lay their eggs in sunny and well-drained uplands that are highly visible.

According to Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources (DNR), many females are run over by vehicles during this annual nesting migration, and it's the leading cause of turtle decline in Wisconsin.

The DNR says that Wood turtles and Blanding’s turtles cannot reproduce until they reach 12 to 20 years, and ornate box turtles tend to produce few eggs each year. Therefore, the removal or death of even one female turtle per year can lead to population declines or the elimination of local populations.

In order to protect turtles the DNR is asking people to help them in their conservation efforts.

The DNR encourages people to consider following these protective actions from now until the end of July:
•Build a nest cage to protect turtle eggs and hatchlings if turtles are nesting on your property. Follow these instructions and watch a step-by-step video on how to build a nest cage that keeps predators out and allows hatchlings to exit on their own.

•Drive with caution on roads that are near wetlands, lakes and rivers. Slow down, be alert and reduce distractions.

•Report turtle observations, road crossings and nest sites using the Turtle Reporting Form for the DNR’s Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program. DNR conservation biologists use these reports to manage and conserve turtles more effectively.

•Report suspicious illegal activity associated with turtles to the DNR’s Violation Hotline by calling or texting 1-800-847-9367.

•Help protect Wisconsin’s native turtles by keeping wild turtles in the wild.

•Learn additional ways you can help to further protect Wisconsin’s turtles.

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