Here at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, we work with many types of turtles besides sea turtles. One such species is Terrapene Carolina, or the Eastern Box Turtle. Box turtle research helps us learn more about human-wildlife interactions, especially development, and how native species are affected.
Displaced and injured box turtles are admitted to the GSTC for rehabilitation and potential release. We also have an outdoor, educational box turtle exhibit viewable by the public that visits our center. Some of the box turtles in our exhibit have been able to reproduce and lay eggs within our exhibit. These hatchlings are then raised for about two years in captivity to get some size on them so predation is less likely. After two years, our research department releases these turtles with radio transmitters to track their movements and survival compared to the native population found on Jekyll Island. Box turtle surveys are also being conducted on our island to gather information about their presence, abundance and habitat associations. To help with our box turtle survey efforts, we have welcomed a new volunteer to the GSTC team!
Roscoe, the GSTC’s first K9 volunteer, came to the GSTC by way of the Animal Rescue Foundation of Wayne County. He had been adopted once and returned because of his high energy level. That level of energy and focus makes him a great working dog. Roscoe is being trained by GSTC volunteer Lyn Parsons to find box turtles on Jekyll Island as part of the GSTC box turtle survey efforts. Lyn has an extensive background in K9 Search and Rescue and dog training and has become an integral part of our education and research departments during her volunteer time at the center! Tracking box turtles can be a time consuming and very difficult task as they are excellent at hiding and digging beneath leaves and other brush. Being able to have a dog on the team makes it a faster and more efficient process. Roscoe loves his job and the praise he gets for a job well done. The GSTC gained a great asset when Roscoe became a member of the team. With Lyn’s expertise and Roscoe’s nose and energy, the box turtle program has been a great success. His training is going great and he loves the extra attention he gets!
Caitlin Sampson Volunteer Program AmeriCorps Member