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The Maine Wood Turtle Project was established in 2015 with the goal of promoting the management and protection of Wood Turtles in Maine and throughout the Northeast. We conduct innovative research to understand holistically the drivers of turtle declines, provide training opportunities to current and future conservation professionals, and partner with conservation organizations to protect our native turtles.

Turtles Need Our Help

Turtles are among the most endangered vertebrate groups on earth with more than 60% of species vulnerable to extinction. Habitat loss and fragmentation through agriculture, road construction, and development are major causes of these declines. Collection for the food and pet trades is similarly driving many species rapidly toward extinction.

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Did you know?

  • The name Wood Turtle comes from the concentric rings on its shell – called annuli – that are reminiscent of the growth rings of trees. The resulting sculpted appearance of the shell is also reflected in their scientific name Glyptemys insculpta.

  • The Wood Turtle is sometimes referred to as the Great Northern Turtle or Old Red Legs.

  • Wood Turtles are listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and have been proposed for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

  • Wood Turtles are unusual among turtle species as they undertake an annual migration from their overwintering habitat in streams and rivers to their upland foraging grounds during the summer.

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