Conserve Wildlife Blog

Are you Aware?

February 2nd, 2011

Protecting Terrapins Through Education and Awareness

By Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Female Northern Diamondback terrapin by Jonathan Carlucci

Terrapins are ectothermic, or they are cold-blooded, and their activity is regulated by external temperatures in the environment. While they may be dormant at the moment, I’m far from that. I’ve never stopped working to protect terrapins from the end of last year’s nesting season. While it’s almost impossible to prevent every terrapin from being hit-by-car, it’s more important to highlight the need for protection and for people to become more aware of terrapins when driving.

Here are a few things I’m working on to help terrapins in the Great Bay area this year:
  • I’ve been working on getting some funding to help raise awareness, i.e. more X-ING signs, other signs (like “slow down, terrapin X-ING”) and other educational materials.
  • I developed an educational presentation about terrapins and our work to protect them. I just presented it for the first time a couple weeks ago at the Jacques Cousteau Coastal Educational Center in Tuckerton.
  • I have been in touch with the town engineer for Little Egg Harbor Twp. about lowering the speed limit on Great Bay Blvd. this year. The speed is currently 50mph!! For a road with soft shoulders (and in some areas, saltmarsh or shrubs that are growing onto the road), seven bridges, a lot of human use in summer, terrapins that nest on the edges and enter the roadway, and the fact that it divides a pristine Wildlife Management Area, it is just way too high.
  • I am attending both the environmental commission and town council meeting this month to address my concerns and to ask for their support for our project.
  • I recently met with officers from the Osborne Island Homeowners Association to assist them with protecting terrapins along Radio Rd.
  • I am developing a volunteer project where volunteers will help patrol area roadways to educate the public about terrapins, to help them cross roads safely, and to help document terrapins on roadways.
If you would like to help us protect terrapins in the Great Bay area, we could use your help!

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