Box Turtles Need Preserve

Roads and Box Turtles don’t mix.

Chuck Landrey of the Turtle Conservation Project copies us on this letter to the editor: For three years I tracked Eastern Box Turtles in Old Saybrook’s 1,000-acre forest, “The Preserve.” Tiny transmitters were attached to each turtle’s shell, and three times each week I would wander through the forest with an antenna held over my head, listening for the pings that would lead me to each turtle’s location. It was amazing how far these turtles, with legs just two inches long, could travel in 48 hours. They made their way over ancient stone walls, crossed swollen streams, and climbed steep ledges that left me gasping. One old male covered such large distances that I gave him the name, “Travellin’ Man.” But because the turtles live in a large, un-fragmented forest, they don’t encounter cars, or lawn mowers, or backyard dogs. If the turtles’ habitat is crisscrossed by development and the roads it will surely bring, the turtles will surely lose. We have a chance to save these 1,000-acres for less money than many individual shoreline homes are sold! I can’t think of a better use for the term, “No Brainer.” For the Box Turtles, and for all of the wildlife, let’s preserve The Preserve.

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