Amboy, Ill. —DNR staff have fitted some Blanding’s turtles with transmitters, allowing biologists to gain a greater understanding of the turtle’s habitat requirements by tracing their travel patterns.
The Blanding’s turtle occurs in just 22% of its historic Illinois range, mostly in the northern quarter of the state. One location with appropriate habitat conditions is the Green River Lowland Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. Encompassing a region within Henry, Whiteside, Lee, Bureau, and DeKalb counties in northwest Illinois, the rural landscape also offers an environment with less human distur bance.
“We’re looking at the location and distribution of these turtles, and in particular what part of the landscape are they using and where they are spending their time,” said DNR District Heritage Biologist Russell Blogg. “We’ll use that data to target restoration activities targeting the best habitats for these turtles.”
The Illinois Audubon Society also is helping protect and improve habitat for Blanding’s turtle on properties it owns in the Amboy Marsh Nature Preserve. Research has shown that Blanding’s turtles can live to be 70 years old, and they don’t start breeding until they are from 10 to 14 years old.