Conservation Dog Program Protects New York's Native Turtles
Many of our region’s native turtles are bellwethers of high-quality water and a healthy ecosystem. To help monitor these indicators of habitat health, the Trail Conference's Conservation Dogs Program is helping partners in Westchester and Rockland Counties to improve the survey efficiency of box and wood turtles. To properly manage habitat for these species of special concern, more information is needed to estimate population size, find the boundaries of populations, determine the location of nesting sites, and record what habitat types are being utilized.
Due to their secretive and cryptic nature, finding turtles through visual surveys can be tricky. Thankfully, Conservation Dog, Peat, is helping improve survey techniques through the power of smell. His enhanced ability to locate these species will enable researchers, biologists, and land managers to make better management decisions to protect these shy, but vital reptiles while also enhancing the overall health of the ecosystem for a more enjoyable experience on our network of trails.