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Threatened turtle found in Winnebago County forest preserve

July 08, 2012 at 08:14 PM

Rockford Register Star

Sometimes you find things when you’re not looking for them.

A state-threatened species of turtle was found in a Winnebago County forest preserve this week.

The rare find comes more than a month after an extensive search conservationists made along the Sugar River corridor in May came up empty handed.

Mike Groves, natural resources manager for the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District, found an ornate box turtle on Monday at a preserve in the Sugar River corridor. He was tending to his regular job duties when he spotted the turtle.

The district is careful not to reveal the precise location of an ornate box turtle because it can attract poachers who illegally remove them from preserves and sell them on the black market.

The find confirms the turtle still has habitat in Winnebago County preserves.

The state has recognized the small turtle, distinguished by bright yellow lines on a dark olive shell, as a threatened species since 2009. Threatened is the level below endangered.

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