We are helping to protect breeding European pond turtles in Slovakia by surveying a known breeding site and protecting active nests. To compliment the breeding site surveys, we are also GPS tagging turtles to monitor their movements across the landscape. This will enable us to collect data on the behaviour and movement patterns of the adult turtles in order to design the most effective conservation measures.
Adult turtles are thought to disperse over a wide area and by tagging them with GPS trackers, we will be able to collect fine-scale movement pattern data over a period of around 2 year. This will enable the team to identify important areas of habitat for protection and restoration, including new potential breeding and wintering sites.
Return to the wild
To support the survival of the wild population of European pond turtle in Slovakia, the team has also been on a rescue mission. Team members living in the local area, Velky Lel island, have been working alongside community members to rescue turtles taken from the wild and kept illegally. Thanks to the teams respectful and diplomatic approach, they have been able to rescue a total of four turtles, including the two that received GPS tags, and return them to the wild. These turtles would otherwise have been lost to the already depleted breeding population of Slovakia's pond turtle.