Eastern Box Turtle
High Elevation Study
A Relic Population Doomed To Extinction?
2017 Summer Season Data
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This was the 10th season that turtles in this study population were tracked.

This summer season started early as all tracked turtles emerged from hibernation during the month of April.   Most turtles quickly moved away from their hibernation locations, and many quickly traveled long distances into areas they were never before observed to have traveled.

Eight new turtles were found, 2 females and 6 males, and 2 study turtles were killed during the season. Three turtles, M24, M40, and M47, lost last season due to transmitter loss and failure, were re-found and are again being tracked.

Seven (7) study turtles made road crossings this season and 5 of these (4 females and 1 male) made 2 crossings each.

Over 1200 turtle locations were recorded this season.  Multiple heat wave weeks and the large number of turtles (36) being tracked, reduced the number of locations recorded for each turtle.

Mark/recapture numbers for this season are 8 new turtles and 15 re-finds.
M25 (F) was killed in the meadow this summer when she was run over by a tractor tire during mowing.  M25 was tracked since 2012 and shared the meadow with M18(M), M29(M), 30(M), with whom she mated occassionally, and a few females including M11(F), the first meadow resident found.

M25 was tracked 0.6 GPS miles this season
M25 was tracked 7.5 GPS miles (2013-2017)
M14 (M) was killed in the meadow this summer when he was run over by a tractor tire during mowing.

He was injured while crossing the road last season and spent the remainder of that seaon as well as the first half of this season in his old activity area around the Tank Road Meeting Area.  On 6/2/17 he suddenly traveled a fast, nearly straight-line route, crossing back across the road and into the meadow possibly meeting with M18 and M29.

This was the 7th uninterrupted season M14 was tracked.

M14 was tracked 0.9 gps miles this season
M14 was tracked for 10.1 gps miles (2010 - 2017)
Turtle M48 (Male), 480 gr. was found meeting with turtle M13 (Male) 6/20/17 on a ridgetop which they shared for nearly the entire summer season.

Like turtle M46, M48 has exaggerated flared, rear marginal scutes, and many scutes which have grown to overlap.
Turtle M49 (Female) 515 gr., was found on 7/18/17 mating with M12(M) on the south slope where M12 (and others) have firmly established activity areas. Unfortunately, after being processed and marked, she was lost without having a working radio.
Turtle M50 (Male) 370 gr. was found crossing the road 8/3/17 by employees Chuck and Steve, and was one  of 2 males observed crossing this season.  He crossed back late in the season and immediatly found a hibernation location.
Turtle M51 (Male), 520gr,  was found on 8/8/17 meeting with M19(M) in the ROW branch.  He may be a transient, but that will require at least another season to determine
Scroll Down (or click here) for Photos and Info on NEW Turtles
Green Dot = Emergence,  Red Dot = Hibernation, Blue Dot = NEW FIND, White Dot = Dead
Turtle M52 (Male), 430 gr,  was found on 8/22/17 meeting with M42(F).  They were found around 2:00  p.m., motionless, touching shells, head to foot.   I assume they later mated.  Box turtles do not stay close to each other after mating.
Turtle M53 (Female), 585gr,  was found on 9/7/17 mating with M48 (also found new this season) on top of the ridge which is apparently a primary activity area for a number of turtles.  This is one of the largest turtles in this population.

It appears that he has had a severe injury to his carapace sometime in the past, which has since healed.
Under Construction
M1 (F) This was the 10th uninterrupted season that turtle M1 was tracked since first found in 2008.  This large, elderly female still nests every summer, often crossing a busy road into and returning from a mowed meadow.  She traveled 2.1 GPS miles this season including a large loop, but spent most of her time on the south facing slope, which is her primary activity area.  She has been tracked for 18.6 GPS miles over ten seasons.
M13 (M) This was the 8th season that turtle M13 was tracked.  After emergence this season he climbed from 3000 ft and spent nearly the entire 2017 season on the top of a high, 3400 ft. ridge, sharing the area with turtles M47(F), M48(M), and M53(F), located later in the season.  He was observed meeting several times during the season.

It would appear from the map that his summer movements were random, but in reality he traveled regularly back and forth across the flat, narrow ridge-top, as his radio was heard alternately from both sides from below.  M13 has been tracked 15.4 GPS miles over 8 seasons.

The map to the left shows M13's travel over the past 8 years.
M3 (M) This was the 9th uninterrupted season that turtle M3 was tracked.  During 9 seasons he has been tracked 16.1 GPS miles.  He was tracked 2.9 miles this season.
M4 (F) This was the 9th uninterrupted season that turtle M4 was tracked.  Turtle M4 is the largest, and possibly the oldest member of this local population yet found.

Although she demonstrated that she was able to travel long distances, her primary activity area, a fern covered power line ROW on a north facing slope, is extraordinarily compact.  She has been tracked 14.4 GPS miles over nine seasons.
M6 (F) This was the 9th season that turtle M6 was tracked.  She left the south slope and crossed the road to nest in the meadow, as she has done several times in the past.

M6 is another well traveled, older adult female who has a large primary activity area on the south facing slope shared with M1, M12, M32 and others. M6 has been tracked for 9.6 GPS miles over 9 seasons.
M15 (M) This was the 6th uninterrupted season that turtle M15 was tracked.  He is often found on top of the narrow ridge in full sun.
M18 (M) This was the 6th uninterrupted season that turtle M18 was tracked.  He's one of the meadow residents, but spends most of his summer seasons close to the woods edge, and travels into the woods occassionally, and was moved there during meadow mowing this season.
M19 (M) This was the 6th uninterrupted season that turtle M19 was tracked.  He is not a large turtle, but travels more mileage than most other residents of this population.
M21 (M) This was the 6th uninterrupted season that turtle M21 was tracked.  He spent most of the season in  an area where timber was logged 6 or 7 years ago, primarily in or near the power line ROW.  M21's been tracked in this same area in the past, but doesn't generally travel this far from his primary activity and hibernation area on top of a ridge.  M21 didn't make it back to his normal hibernation area this season before cold weather.
M24 (F) This was the 6th season that turtle M24 was tracked.  She was lost last season when her radio failed, but was found and assisted crossing the road this season by Chris, a park employee.  She was later found mating with M3 after crossing back across the road from the meadow.  She was tagged with a new radio, and was tracked into hibernation.

The map shows all years M24 was tracked.
Turtle M54 (Male), 430 gr,  was found on 10/9/17 meeting with M50(M), also new this season, in the meadow a day after mowing ended.  Almost certainly a transient, it's impossible to know where he came from before finding M50.  He is being tracked as he moves away from the resident population study area.
Turtle M55 (Male), 210 gr,  was found on 10/11/17 meeting with M30(m) in an area close to the meadow where several of this population's females come to nest.  He's pretty small, but in free ranging Box turtles, he could be  much older than he appears.
M27 (M) This was the 4th uninterrupted season that turtle M27 was tracked, and finally has wqrn off nearly all of  the white paint he was found with.   He was not observed mating this season.  M27 used a much smaller portion of the north facing slope and ridge than in previous seasons, and hiberated in exactly the same place as 2016.
 
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M12 (M) This was the 8th season that turtle M12 was tracked.  He traveled 1.2 miles this season and stayed mostly on the south slope.  M12 has been tracked 10.8 GPS miles over 8 seasons.

The maps show M12's travels for the 2017 season as well as for all 8 seasons.  He travels across the ravine, to the north facing slope once or twice each season, but stays only a short time and returns to the south slope each time.
M8 (M) This was the 9th season that turtle M8 was tracked.  He spent most of this season in his normal activity area, but in late summer crossed onto the south facing slope where he mated with M43 (f),and spent the remainder of the season, and hibernated there.   With the death of turtle M9 (f) last season, he is now missing his primary mate who shared his primary activity area.  M8 has been tracked 16.0 GPS miles over 9 seasons.

The map shows M8's travels over all 9 seasons.
M10 (M) This was the 9th season that turtle M10 was tracked.  He traveled 1.8 miles this season, and 19.1 GPS miles over the past 9 seasons.  The maps show M10's travels for the 2017 season as well as for all 9 seasons.
M11 (F) This was the 9th uninterrupted season that turtle M11 was tracked.  Like other residents this season, M11 changed her normal observed behavior.  She spent the majority of the summer in a heavily wooded area far from her usual hibernation area, instead of using the meadow.  She traveled back to her normal hibernation area near the road, where she hibernated in the same small hole she used last winter.  She was not observed mating this season.

M11 has been tracked 13.1 GPS miles over the past 9 seasons, and 1.8 miles this season.
NEW turtles found in 2017
Additional turtle photos are found here
M29 (M) This was the 4th uninterrupted season that turtle M29 was tracked.  He is one of several meadow residents, and even more than M18, tends to stay near the wood's edge, with an occassional forray into the woods and onto the ridge extending toward the road.
M30 (M) This was the 3rd uniterrupted season that turtle M30 was tracked.  He traveled 1.6 GPS miles this season, but stayed in a much smaller area than in previous years.
M32 (M) This was the 3rd season that turtle M32 was tracked.  He stays on the south facing slope, and travels diagonally up and down slope many times during a season.  He was lost for part of the summer and probably traveled much more than the map indicates.
M38 (F) This was the 3th uninterrupted season that turtle M38 was tracked.  She shares this "hollow" with 2 males: M15 and M19.  She was observed mating 3 times, and nesting this season, laying 4 eggs.
M40 (F) This was the 2nd season that turtle M40 was tracked.  She was lost last season when she traveled into an inaccessible area far out of radio range.  M40 was re-found this season while tracking M1 and M42, re-tagged and tracked the remainder of the season.  It was thought she might be a transient, but may instead have a primary activity area further west than other south slope residents.  It's nearly an hour's hike out from the area where she was re-found this season.  Turtle M40's travels in 2018 took her back near the cabin site where she was originally found.
M41 (F) This was the 2nd season that turtle M41 was tracked.  So far, she seems to spend all of her time on the north facing slope.  She was found mating with, and near several males this season.  If she nests, it doesn't appear that she travels very far to do so, as with other females.
M42 (F) This was the 2nd season that turtle M42 was tracked.  Found last season with south facing slope residents where she also hibernated, M42 unexpectidly traveled to the meadow this season to nest, crossing the road twice.  M42 traveled 1.5 GPS miles this season.
M43 (F) This was the 2nd uninterrupted season that turtle M43 was tracked.   She was found last season while mating with M3.  This season she was found many times within female M9's (now dead) old activity area and was observed mating with M10.  M43 travled 1.2 GPS miles this season.
M44 (F) This was the 2nd season that turtle M44 was tracked.  Found last season mating with M3, this season she traveled to the meadow to nest, crossing the road twice.  It appears on the photo that she spends a signifcant amout of travel time near the road, but this is at the bottom of a very steep slope in the hollow that she shares with M43(F).  M44 traveled 1.6 GPS miles this season.
M45 (M) This was the 2nd season that turtle M45 was tracked.  This transient was found last season meeting with M15, and tracked into hibernation.  He was lost this season with 2 working transmitters, when tracking was interrupted for a week mid-season.  M45 is wearing a message vial in case he is later found.  M45 was tracked 1.5 miles each of these 2 seasons.
M47 (F) This was the 2nd season that turtle M47 was tracked.  She was lost last season when her transmitter failed as she moved from her hibernation location.  M47 was re-found this summer while tracking M13 on top of the high ridge, re-tagged and tracked into hibernation.
M48 (M) This was the 1st season that turtle M48 was tracked.  She was found 6/20/17 on top of a high ridge, where she remained for the remainder of the season.
M50 (M) This was the 1st season that turtle M50 was tracked.  He was found as he was attempting to cross the road, radio-tagged and tracked the season into hibernation.   M50 was tracked 0.5 GPS miles this season.
M51 (M) This was the 1st season that turtle M51 was tracked.  He's likely another transient, but spent part of the season in and near M19, M15, and M38's activity area.  He moved a short distance away and hibernated at the edge of the power line ROW.  M51 was tracked 0.8 GPS miles this season.
M52 (M) This was the 1st season that turtle M52 was tracked.  He was found meeting with female M42 on 8/22/17 and was tracked 0.4 GPS mile this season.
M53 (F) This was the 1st season that turtle M53 was tracked.  He was found on 9/7/17, and shares the ridge-top with M48 and M13(m) and possibly M47(f).
M54 (M) This was the 1st season that turtle M54 was tracked.  He was found meeting with turtle M50 in the meadow on 10/8/17, and tracked into hibernation.  He appears to be a transient, but it will require another season or 2 to determine if he is a resident or transient.
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