Wildlife Officials Launch Project to Conserve Wood Turtles - NECN
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Wildlife Officials Launch Project to Conserve Wood Turtles

Officials: Populations Are Declining in Eastern Massachusetts

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    Wildlife Officials Launch Project to Conserve Wood Turtles
    Getty Images / file photo
    Wood turtles, similar to this one, are disappearing in Eastern Massachusetts. Wood turtles are typically identified by their carapace background, which is greyish brown to brown with a series of yellow and black radiating lines on each side.

    Massachusetts wildlife officials are launching a three-year project to help conserve wood turtles in eastern Massachusetts.

    The turtles were once common in the cool, free-flowing streams of the Merrimack River Valley, but their populations have declined so much that they are now protected under the state's Endangered Species Act.

    Populations closest to Boston have experienced some of the biggest declines as residential development has increased.

    MassWildlife is teaming with Zoo New England to launch the initiative , which includes searching stream habitats to find wood turtles, tracking movement patterns with radio telemetry, and identifying areas where wood turtles might establish populations in northeastern Massachusetts.

    The turtles grow to 6 inches (152 millimeters) to 8 inches (203 millimeters) in length and can live more than 70 years, although few survive to maturity, with many struck by cars.

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