The Missouri Department of Conservation is searching for help to track the state's turtle population. Interested biology enthusiasts would help trap and release turtles in the water at the Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area south of Columbia. The department needs between two and three dozen people who don't mind getting messy in the name of science.
Eagle Bluffs manager Vic Bogosian says the information gathered during these turtle round ups are crucial to ensuring the continued well-being of the animals.
"Is that population number stable? Is it increasing or is it decreasing? And if it's decreasing then we want to know why. Is it something we're doing to the habitat, is it something about the way we're managing things? Or is there something else causing the turtle decline" Bogosian said.
Bogosian says he's concerned about the turtle population due to the harsh winter and the recent low water levels at Eagle Bluffs. That combination can leave hibernating turtles exposed to the elements, which can jeopardize their survival.
Although these types of studies have occurred intermittently before, researchers say they would like to hold them more frequently to get a better sample of the turtle population.
The turtle roundup will have two back-to-back sessions. First on May 14th and 15th then May 19th and 20th. Anyone who is interested can call Vic Bogosian at 573-445-3882 or find out more information on the Missouri Department of Conservation's website.