Box Turtles..... To relocate or not to relocate????????

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Dave S
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Box Turtles..... To relocate or not to relocate????????

Post by Dave S » July 20th, 2013, 4:41 pm

I've just been informed that one of my prime Box Turtle spots in MD is slated to be developed. My relatives have said that it is due to be bull dozed in the fall and they have asked if they should relocated the turtles. There is really no place for the turtles to go besides into the surrounding neighborhood which will only spell a death sentence for them. There is a spot about 10 or 12 miles away with perfect habitat they could move them to. Suggestions, comments, concerns. Please post your thoughts.

Thanks
Dave S.

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sep11ie
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Re: Box Turtles..... To relocate or not to relocate????????

Post by sep11ie » July 20th, 2013, 4:57 pm

I think what would be best would be contacting local parks or Game Wardens with your situation. Moving a bunch of turtles to an area that already has a set population may just spell death to those turtles or ones that were already there(depending on how many you are relocating). I love boxies and I feel they don't get the respect they deserve and would love to hear a happy ending for your dilemma.

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Badgerberling
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Re: Box Turtles..... To relocate or not to relocate????????

Post by Badgerberling » July 21st, 2013, 5:45 am

Perhaps this is a public relations opportunity to gain public awareness of the plight an overlooked species, the box turtle being the closest thing to a "warm fuzzy" reptile for most people. Maybe in this instance box turtles could be the poster child for a conservation statement attractive to the press.

In any case I also hope for a positive outcome having fond memories of box turtles from my youth and misgivings over the many square miles of prime habitat in the vicinity that have been developed.

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Daryl Eby
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Re: Box Turtles..... To relocate or not to relocate????????

Post by Daryl Eby » July 21st, 2013, 6:30 am

I'd recommend contacting any universities in the area that have decent biology or wildlife programs. This might provide an opportunity for a student or group of students. Ideally, they could attempt a relocation project with professional supervision and long term follow-up -especially if you or your relatives volunteer to help. Even if they use them for captive study (or worse dissection), that would be preferable to being buried alive or crushed by a dozer.

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kyle loucks
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Re: Box Turtles..... To relocate or not to relocate????????

Post by kyle loucks » July 21st, 2013, 8:57 am

I could give you a DNR contact that could give some direction.

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Re: Box Turtles..... To relocate or not to relocate????????

Post by VICtort » July 21st, 2013, 9:07 am

I agree with Daryl, and your comment about a nearby perfect habitat is a concern. If perfect, it should already have a population at near capacity...adding new ones would not likely be a good thing. However, if this "perfect" habitat has for whatever reason has a diminished population of turtles, just maybe it would assimilate more. As someone commented, almost any alternative is preferred to buried alive and covered with concrete. Even homing as pets to competent keepers if lawful.

Government involvement will likely result in endless red tape and nothing done in the limited time you have...however, they might be more responsive IF some recognized group speaks out on behalf the turtles I.e. CBD, Audubon, Acadeamia etc. if you could get a University involved, that might be your best bet... I do not know what protection Box turtles have in your State...maybe my assessment of Government involvement is too harsh. But do it quick...they rarely work fast.

Good luck with this all too common and sad situation,

Vic

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Re: Box Turtles..... To relocate or not to relocate????????

Post by muskiemagnet » July 21st, 2013, 12:05 pm

good advice all around. especially daryl's.

ben

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tomharten
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Re: Box Turtles..... To relocate or not to relocate????????

Post by tomharten » July 21st, 2013, 3:48 pm

I would follow Kyle's advice to contact MD DNR. It is not advisable to move a population of box turtles in MD. A small scale experiment to relocate some box turtles was done when a highway (the Inter-County Connector) was constructed a couple of years ago. There was a problem with ranavirus killing many of the turtles. Since this disease appears to be present in at least some MD box turtles, I think transplanting them even a few miles away would be ill advised.

Here's a link to a Washington Post article about the concern with ranavirus in box turtles.

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012 ... lt-turtles

Tom

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Dave S
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Re: Box Turtles..... To relocate or not to relocate????????

Post by Dave S » July 22nd, 2013, 6:24 am

Thanks for the replies everyone. :thumb:

Let me clarify something real quick then I'll give you all the update. I have read a few of the articles about relocating Box Turtles and advised my relatives against it. It was more of a title attention grabber then a practical plan. The idea of being able to move them all and not create a problem just wouldn't be possible. Yes, there is good habitat down the way but there is already a population of turtles there too, just not as many. My Aunt and Uncle don't want to have anything happen to either population. I sent them a link to this tread so they can read all the replies too.
Now here is the good news:
They talked with the director of a local nature/rehab center and the person has said they would try to help find a solution or find someone who could. She had heard about the new development coming but was unaware such a strong population of turtles would be effected. They were going to show her the area this morning so she can get an idea of what is going to happen. Lucky for them she is self-proclaimed HUGE Box Turtle fan!!!!!!

I'll post again as I get updates, Thanks again.
Dave S.

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kyle loucks
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Re: Box Turtles..... To relocate or not to relocate????????

Post by kyle loucks » July 23rd, 2013, 1:13 pm

Thanks for looking out for the turtles!

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Re: Box Turtles..... To relocate or not to relocate????????

Post by regalringneck » July 23rd, 2013, 3:09 pm

... i didnt see the size of the parcel in your post, but to me the obvious answer is for the development (=developer) to incorporate a turtle program = enclosure/I&E outreach area, also perhaps thru natural greenbelts/signage; signage on streets (dont run the lil guys over), even supplemental feeding & structures if determined necessary; either carrot or stick em into doing this, they dont need to pave it all; there has to be consideration for drainage, infiltration / landscaping / etc.
Let them demonstrate govt is not always the wildlife answer. Theres lots of private expertise available, they just need to think & act "out of the ...eeerrr box", : }

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Re: Box Turtles..... To relocate or not to relocate????????

Post by spinifer » July 24th, 2013, 12:49 pm

I believe survival rate of relocated adult turtles is very low. They have a strong site fidelity to their home range and when relocated attempt to navigate back home. This often leads to them crossing roads and most end up DOR. Very few adopt the new location as their new home.

Box turtle can survive in surprisingly small habitat areas. Are there any strips of land that will be spared? I think the best solution is to collect them just prior to the site being bulldozed and then release them into the remaining habitat fragments after the threat of being bulldozed is gone.

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Dave S
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Re: Box Turtles..... To relocate or not to relocate????????

Post by Dave S » September 9th, 2013, 4:42 am

Quick Update:

Turns out the land owner/developer wants to put 150 homes on the site and is going through the court system to try and get the zoning fixed in his favor. The current zoning would only allow him to put about 50 homes max on the area. From what I have been told by my relatives as well, the plans from the development would require some sort of buffer zones/ natural areas to be left as habitat. How many or how much of the 250+ acres would be set aside for these zones is good ?? I think this is going to be a long process that will have to be watched. As for now seems like things are at a stand still and only minor work has/had been started.

Dave S.

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Re: Box Turtles..... To relocate or not to relocate????????

Post by klawnskale » September 9th, 2013, 7:47 am

David:
From the information that you just posted, I am going to guess that there is an environmental consulting firm most likely tied to this project all ready to perform some sort of mitigation. It's a law in most States that an environmental assessment is to be performed prior to the development's construction to insure there are no sensitive species present that maybe impacted by the habitat alteration process. You maybe able to find out what company maybe working with this developer and project and contact their project biologists that are assigned to it and see what's being done about the boxies.

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