WISCONSIN, (WFRV) – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking the public to help protect turtle mothers and the next generation of turtles.

Around this time of year, turtles begin emerging from rivers, lakes, and wetlands to lay eggs. The nesting areas tend to be along roads and in residential yards.

Every year, DNR staff says many female turtles are run over by vehicles during these annual nesting migrations, leading to a decline in the turtle population in Wisconsin.

“The nesting season is a really tough time to be a turtle mother. Many are removed from the population by car collisions on roads, while some protected species are illegally taken from the wild and sold in the illegal pet trade,” said Andrew Badje, DNR Conservation Biologist. “Protecting adult females and turtle nests in the wild are the best ways to conserve turtle populations in Wisconsin.

The DNR is encouraging Wisconsinites to consider following these actions from now until the end of July:

  • Build a nest cage to protect turtle eggs and hatchlings if turtles are nesting on your property. Follow these instructions and watch a step-by-step video on how to build a nest cage that keeps predators out and allows hatchlings to exit on their own.
  • Drive with caution on roads that are near wetlands, lakes, and rivers. Slow down, be alert and reduce distractions.
  • Report turtle observations, road crossings, and nest sites using the Turtle Reporting Form for the DNR’s Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program. DNR conservation biologists use these reports to manage and conserve turtles more effectively.
  • Report suspicious illegal activity associated with turtles to the DNR’s Violation Hotline by calling or texting 1-800-847-9367.
  • Help protect Wisconsin’s native turtles by keeping wild turtles in the wild.

For more information about the Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program, click here.