There is a new task force in town! The Turtle Task Force (also known as Team Turtle) seeks an end to turtle feeding with a new sign installation, with a recently installed signage at First and Second Bridges along Long Pond to educate the public about the wonders of local snapping turtles.
News from Linda Loring Nature Foundation
This team is a partnership of local Nantucket animal welfare and conservation organizations with the intent to educate the public about Snapping Turtles and ultimately end the practice of “jigging” for them around Nantucket. Years of feeding these fantastic creatures have resulted in unnatural behaviors that can be detrimental to individuals and the entire population.
Snapping turtles are generally active at night, dawn, and dusk but are now active during mid-day, congregating in groups much larger than is natural or healthy. Team Turtle is most concerned about using fishing lines attached to raw chicken to lure in and capture snapping turtles. Many of the turtles show scarring on their heads, neck, and limbs from being tangled in a fishing line; some are found with fishing line attached to rotting chicken hanging out of their mouths; some are still alive, and others have been found dead presumably due to choking. Trash left behind on the docks, and pond edges is also a concern and require regular clean-up.
Currently, the team includes the following organizations: Nantucket Island Safe Harbor for Animals (NISHA), ecologists/educators from the Linda Loring Nature Foundation, the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, and the Maria Mitchell Association. All have worked together to design a sign that will be installed at the docks at the first and second bridges at Long Pond and at the new Nantucket Land Bank pier on Massasoit Bridge Rd.
These signs are printed in English and Spanish and are intended to discourage feeding turtles and provide general natural history information about these fascinating creatures. They know that this is a beloved pastime for Nantucket children and summer visitors alike and that few participate in these activities with the intention or knowledge of harming turtles. Team Turtle is also aware that some folks legitimately and legally fish for turtles for food (when in season). They encourage children to engage with the natural world and wildlife in a fun, safe, and ethical way.