The Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo veterinarians, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program have joined forces to answer a perplexing wildlife question: Why are bog turtles getting sick?
The dilemma shines a light on North America's smallest turtle; an adult bog turtle reaches only 4.5 inches in length and as many ounces. Wildlife managers working in a few known bog turtle habitats in the Northeast have reported higher than average mortality rates for these threatened reptiles in the past few years.
To determine the cause of the increase in mortality at some sites and identify the baseline health condition at other sites, WCS's Global Health Program—based at the Bronx Zoo—is lending its expertise in wildlife health assessments. WCS health experts have joined federal and state wildlife managers in the field at locations in New York State and Massachusetts.
The bog turtle team is currently locating wild turtles for health assessments to determine these baseline conditions and possibly identify a common cause to explain recent turtle mortality. After conducting a physical exam of individual turtles, health experts will collect a number of samples—blood, feces, cloacal swabs, biopsies—for later analysis.
"We're conducting a broad screening in order to identify a cause or causes for the increase in bog turtle deaths," said Dr. Bonnie Raphael, WCS's Department Head for Wildlife Medicine. "This information will be used to help determine if these recent losses are attributable to infectious disease, environmental perturbations, or other factors."
Although there are no reliable range-wide population estimates for bog turtles, the species is currently protected on state, national, and international levels. The number of known habitats for the threatened northern population of the bog turtle—which has a patchy distribution stretching from Massachusetts to Maryland—is shrinking. The bog turtle is federally listed as "Threatened," and is "Endangered" in New York State and Massachusetts. All international trade in the species is prohibited through CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has made bog turtle recovery a priority," said Alison Whitlock, Northeast Region Bog Turtle Recovery Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "We are working with many partners from state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private landowners to address the threats to this species. Working with the Wildlife Conservation Society to conduct this health assessment addresses one of the recovery objectives, and we are looking forward to continuing this partnership in conservation."
WCS has been involved in the study and conservation of bog turtles since 1973. A bog turtle research project conducted by Dr. Whitlock was one of the first conservation initiatives funded by WCS's North America Program in 1995. WCS Global Health Program veterinarians are recognized as experts in turtle health programs in national and international field efforts as well as zoological park based programs and thus are uniquely qualified for this investigation.
John Delaney | EurekAlert!
Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences