Conservationists Trying To Help Turtles Thrive In Forest Preserve

CHICAGO (CBS) — Radio transmitters with long antennae were attached to a dozen turtles on Friday and the turtles were then released into a south suburban forest preserve where it’s hoped they’ll produce more turtles.

Conservationists said invasive species of plants have pushed turtles into predictable nesting locations, often near roads, making turtle eggs and baby turtles easy prey. That reduces the chances for turtles to multiply in the area.

“Raccoons, skunks, anything that would eat a turtle egg or a baby turtle; they know where to go,” Friends of the Chicago River executive director Margaret Frisbie said.

On Friday, in Orland Park, radio transmitters were attached to the shells of about a dozen turtles and the turtles were taken to an area specially made for them near Wampum Lake in Thornton.

“They’ll be able to track them over the next year or so and see if they’re using the cleared areas, which we hope,” Frisbie said.

Cook County Forest Preserve District wildlife biologist Chris Anchor said turtles tagged on Friday included snapping turtles, painted turtles, and red-eared sliders.

“What we have seen over the year is that turtles are in trouble, inasmuch as they have very limited areas that they can actually lay eggs that are safe,” Anchor said.

Forest Preserve District wildlife biologist Chris Anchor said, to prepare the area near Wampum Lake, crews removed invasive species of plants and did prescribed burns, which helped to make the soil soft enough for female turtles to dig holes in which to lay their eggs.

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