Introduced plants make up roughly half the diet of two subspecies of endangered tortoise, field research in the Galapagos reveals. Tortoises seem to prefer non-native to native plants and the plants may help them to stay well-nourished during the dry season.
Visiting scientist Stephen Blake has traveled the world trying to protect endangered species, including forest elephants and giant tortoises. Lately he and his wife veterinarian Sharon Deem have put increasing emphasis on trying to restore another endangered species: kids who care about nature. They’ve started the St. Louis Box Turtle Project as a kid-friendly way to re-introduce kids to the woods.
Sixteen St. Louis youth will be in Forest Park on June 13 tracking box turtles, fitted with telemetry devices — all to help with a project aimed at studying box turtle movements and their health. The 12- and 13-year-olds are participating in a pilot study designed by scientists from the Saint Louis Zoo and Washington University in St. Louis to document box turtle movements and their health status in urban and rural areas in and around St. Louis.