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Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The Painted Turtles Are Here!
Yesterday was an exciting day at Nature Boardwalk! The pond now has 10 new reptile residents.
Kids from Beidler School helped with the painted turtle introduction. I walked to the edge of the water with groups of two or three children, and together we tilted over the individual containers the turtles were housed in. This allowed the turtles to make their way out of the container and then decide where to swim next.
Most of the turtles didn’t need any extra motivation, as they were ready to get out of those small containers. I’m sure they’ll have an interesting time exploring the pond and finding their way around. The kids that helped me were great: cooperative and very respectful of the turtles.
Earlier, behind the scenes, the five biggest turtles were fitted with radio transmitters. These will allow zoo biologists, including me, to track the movement of the turtles, seeing where they spend their time and how they’re doing at the pond.
All the turtles were also implanted with transponders by the zoo’s veterinary staff. Each transponder has a unique number to identify that animal. With the turtle in hand, one can scan the transponder with a reader similar to a barcode reader at the supermarket.
Lastly, small notches in the shell unique to each turtle will allow researchers to distinguish the turtles visually. These are all identification methods that will allow scientists at Nature Boardwalk to track the health and well-being of our new turtle population.
Now the next step is population monitoring. I’m looking forward tracking these turtles and seeing where they’re spending their time at the pond!
Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo
By transforming the South Pond into Nature Boardwalk, Lincoln Park Zoo has created an urban ecosystem in the heart of the city. Enjoy a virtual view as native plants and animals establish themselves in this rare refuge.
As Lincoln Park Zoo’s director of horticulture, Brian oversees the zoo’s gardens, from bud to bloom.
As coordinator of wildlife management, Mason chronicles the bugs, birds, fish, insects, mammals and more that make their homes at Nature Boardwalk.
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