Lake County releases 100 baby turtles
The Blanding's turtle population in Lake County grew by 100 Thursday.
Wildlife biologists released 100 hatchlings into their natural habitat as part of an ongoing recovery program. Once common throughout Lake County, Blanding's turtles were designated as endangered in Illinois in 2009.
"Part of our recovery efforts are part of a statewide recovery effort to bolster populations to help eventually recover and hopefully delist the species one day," Lake County Forest Preserve District Wildlife Biologist Gary Glowacki said.
For more than a decade, forest district biologists have been tracking turtles to determine the extent of their range and monitor their locations.
The practice will continue as the 100 baby turtles released Thursday will be tracked using radio telemetry.
As part of the Lake County recovery program, eggs are collected and incubated, and hatchlings are held in captivity until they can survive native predators.
The turtles born in captivity will most likely survive, while the majority of those born in the wild will be killed by predators, Glowacki said.
Illegal poaching is one of the major threats causing population declines for this species, according to the forest preserve district, which doesn't want the exact location of the turtle release made public.
Chicago Wilderness, a regional conservation alliance, is working with the forest district to improve the Blanding's health and habitats during the next five years.
To learn more about the Lake County Forest Preserve District's Blanding's turtle recovery program and to adopt a turtle, visit www.lcfpd.org/Adopt-a-Turtle.