The “Wellness of Wildlife” project to focus on health of box turtles

ciLiving.TV

Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

Dr. Laura Adamovicz, veterinarian and research scientist with the Wildlife Epidemiology Laboratory at the University of Illinois as well as an affiliate of the Illinois Natural History Survey, shares details on the Wellness of Wildlife project.

The “Wellness of Wildlife” project focuses on the overall health status of box turtles because:

  • Box turtles are excellent sentinels for ecosystem health, meaning problems in this species could be indications that other species are struggling
  • Box turtles are species of conservation concern in Illinois
  • The Wellness of Wildlife project involves finding box turtles in the wild 2 to 3 times per year using specially trained turtle-sniffing dogs.* The team performs a physical examination on each turtle and collects swabs and blood samples. Turtles are released at the exact spot they were found the same day.

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