The Rare Blanding's Turtle Needs Your Help to Survive!
Juvenile Blanding's Turtle on the Refuge The Blanding's Turtle Project, a conservation initiative led by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service since 2006, is now in jeopardy due to a lack of funds. In order to continue this research, donations are needed to purchase and maintain field equipment.
- The Blanding's turtle is a semi-aquatic freshwater species that is listed as a Threatened Species in Massachusetts.
- Since 2006, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has made an effort to establish a new population at the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) by moving juveniles and hatchlings from Oxbow NWR.
- One half of these hatchlings are directly released to the wetland, while the other half is raised in captivity for nine months to increase their rate of growth and survival upon release the following spring (head-starting).
- Several of the Blanding's turtles at Assabet River NWR carry transmitters which allow the researchers to gather information on movement and habitat preferences, and make it easier to recapture the turtles to re-measure them.
- Funds are needed to purchase 40 VHF transmitters, at a cost of $150 per transmitter, and 800 cans of sardines, which are used as bait for turtle traps, at a cost of $1 per can. Funds are also needed to hire a wildlife technician to extend the field work season into the fall.
In the past, this conservation effort has cost the USFWS about $50,000 annually, supplied through a combination of donations, grants, and federal funding. However, the government sequester has resulted in almost no funding for this project since 2013, and it's likely there will be no funding in the future. Current research and analysis of past data will be discontinued if new sources of funds are not found.
You can also send a check, made out to FARNWR, with “Blanding’s Turtle Project” written on the memo line, to:
P.O. Box 27
Hudson, MA 01749
Learn More About This Project
Watch Jared Green track and find a turtle on the refuge.
To learn even more, see youtube.