Wisconsin invites turtle sighting reports

MADISON — With turtle nesting season beginning for many Wisconsin turtle species, Department of Natural Resources conservation biologists are asking citizens to submit their turtle sightings, with an emphasis on road crossing hot spots, to the DNR’s Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program.

“Citizen reports in past years have been very important for turtle conservation,” said Andrew Badje, who coordinates the turtle conservation program for the DNR Natural Heritage Conservation Bureau.

“Such reports have helped us identify problem road crossings throughout the state, and helped us document previously unknown populations of rare turtles.”

From May through July, female turtles cross roads to find suitable nesting areas in sunny uplands with sand, gravel, and loose soil. Turtles getting run over by cars is considered a leading cause of decline in turtle numbers in Wisconsin, especially in highly fragmented areas and areas with high traffic volumes.

To report turtle crossings and other turtle sightings, or for additional information about Wisconsin turtles, search online for Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program.