Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Reptiles’ Category

Celery Farm and Beyond: Rescuing a Few Baby Terrapins

Thursday, May 30th, 2019
Photo by Jim Wright

While out on a drive along Delaware Bay friend of Conserve Wildlife Foundation Jim Wright has an unplanned encounter with our biologist Larissa Smith and several baby terrapins.

On his blog Jim says “(Larissa) explained that these tiny terrapins cross this road every late May. We helped save four of the little turtles — including three that would have likely been crushed by a giant tractor-trailer headed for a marina.  Alas, we found a few crushed little guys on the way.”

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Skylands Visitor: Rare Herps

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

Story by: Allegra Mitchell, CWF Biologist

Bog turtle. Photo: Brian Zarate

Conserve Wildlife Foundation biologist Allegra Mitchell recently wrote about rare herps for Skylands Visitor’s website. Allegra takes you on a tour through the sometimes weird, always wonderful world of amphibians and reptiles.

As the season eases into milder temperatures at the onset of spring, all manner of creatures stretch their bodies and move more freely, searching for food and mates while they patrol their home turfs. Among these creatures are some of the most rare, interesting, and beautiful animals in the Garden State. Though they often go unnoticed or are misunderstood, reptiles and amphibians are vital to the balance of our fragile ecosystems—and some of them are in pretty big trouble. Continue reading on njskylands.com.




Press of Atlantic City: Illegal turtle trade plagues South Jersey marshes

Friday, March 15th, 2019

Story by: Press of Atlantic City


N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife Photo

To the trained eye, it was clear Kevin Courts and Michael Riff were illegal terrapin harvesters.

The Hatboro, Pennsylvania, men, one shirtless, were parked next to a marsh off Sea Isle Boulevard last July, with six nets and a long pole leaning against their green truck, the state said. A conservation officer who approached them spotted a turtle crawling under the driver’s side seat and found a cooler packed with hatchlings.

Diamondback terrapins given ‘head start’, thanks to schoolkids

Monday, July 2nd, 2018
Story by The Sandpaper 

ESTIMATING AGE: Marissa Thomasen shows Bass River School children how she measures the carapace of a terrapin for her data log. Photo by Pat Johnson, The Sandpaper

Giving kids a head start in learning about nature is the point of Head Start Terrapins, a school course started by the Ocean County MATES program and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. Last October, Ben Wurst, CWFNJ project manager for Bass River and Balanger Creek, picked up seven quarter-sized baby diamondback terrapins from the roadside on Great Bay Boulevard, Little Egg Harbor Township.

Click here to continue reading.

Reducing Roadkills of Terrapins in S. Ocean County

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018
Dedicated volunteers help reduce mortality of adult female terrapins

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Volunteers Elizabeth and Courtney measure the height of a female terrapins carapace.

Now that Northern diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin terrapin) are officially considered a nongame species, our work to help conserve breeding adult females is more justifiable. Before July 2016, adult terrapins, including egg bearing females, could be harvested during an open season from November to March. With that said, it was troublesome to know that a 15+ year old female that you helped safely cross a road in summer, could be harvested, shipped to Asia and eaten only a few months later… Now, we can rest (somewhat) easy knowing that the hard work of our dedicated volunteers will live on and help the population grow (there are still many threats to terrapins including collisions with boats, vehicles, poaching, drowning in ghost crab pots, etc…) (more…)