About the Terrapin Nesting Project
The Diamondback Terrapin is a species of turtle that lives in brackish water, a mixture of salt and fresh water. There are seven subspecies of Diamondback Terrapins that can be found as far north as Cape Cod, Massachusetts down to the Gulf of Mexico. They have been around for hundreds of years, yet over time humans and other predators have caused a decline in their population. The primary threats to these turtles include:
· Habitat loss: construction of roads, houses, and buildings on their nesting areas
· Predators: foxes, crows, raccoons, etc. raid their nests in order to consume the eggs
· Humans: capturing them as pets, for consumption, or to supply the illegal pet trade in the US and overseas
The Terrapin Nesting Project’s mission is to protect the Diamondback Terrapin, their nests, and hatchlings on Long Beach Island and the surrounding areas. We are working to rebuild the population of the Diamondback Terrapin and restore the balance of the ecosystem.
The Terrapin Nesting Project (TNP) envisions a world where the Diamondback Terrapin can maintain their population without the intervention of humans.
How DO We Plan To Do This?
Though a volunteer-based team located in Long Beach Island NJ, the Terrapin Nesting Project is working to help the plight of the Diamondback Terrapin. Our plan includes the following:
“Natural Nesting Sites”– These are piles of sand that are protected in order to keep the eggs and hatchlings safe from their numerous predators. They are located in areas that the nesting females naturally lay their eggs, in the hope that they will return each year and continue to lay in these protected spaces.
“Hatcheries”– These facilities house eggs that were laid in unsafe locations and were carefully moved by the trained TNP staff. This gives the hatchlings a better chance of survival as they are put in a place safe from predators as well as a substrate that facilitates their development.
Educational Events– Throughout the year the TNP runs and supports many events that promote our mission.
The Adopt-A-Nest program provides a hands-on educational experience where the community is able to have a direct impact on the survival of the species.
Our TNP staff frequently participates in local events that are focused on environmental preservation and community awareness. We strive to communicate the importance of maintaining the population of the species and emphasize the challenges they face.
Our Director provides educational instruction to schools around the region with classroom presentations and supervision of the overwintering of late emerging hatchlings.
Research– Through observation, data collection, and analysis we intend to gain a more in-depth knowledge of the species. This will allow us to understand the behavioral science of the Diamondback Terrapin as well as the environmental factors that may impact their survival. We hope that this will allow us to measure the impact our work is having on preserving the species.