After helping several turtles cross South Road to safety, a local resident has called on the Conservation Commission to install signs marking the area to warn motorists of the creatures.
Members agreed at their June 23 meeting to make signs to install on South Road, as well as on Hall Road.
Commissioner Mike Speltz said the woman also reported seeing people intentionally driving over turtles crossing the street, and observed at least one person who was considering taking a turtle home as a pet.
Many turtles, such as the endangered Blanding’s Turtle, are protected. Possessing, selling, harming, injuring or killing protected animals is illegal.
Blanding’s turtles make extensive movements across land in search of suitable nesting areas, which makes them extremely vulnerable to mortality on roadways, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.
Turtle nesting season lasts from late May to early July.
The biggest threat to turtle populations in New Hampshire is being struck by automobiles on roadways, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist Mike Marchand.
During nesting season, female turtles may travel several meters from the safety of ponds and wetlands to find a sandy, sunny location on land for a nest.
The mortality rate for young turtles is high, and female turtles aren’t capable of reproducing until 15 years of age or older, according to Marchand.
As a result, mature turtles are important to maintaining populations in New Hampshire.
Residents are urged to be on the lookout for turtles crossing roads in search of a nesting site and help turtles cross in the direction they are traveling, when it’s safe to do so.
People should never take a turtle home or move it far from where it was found.
If a turtle is injured, call Fish and Game’s Wildlife Division at 271-2461 for a list of wildlife rehabilitators in the area.
Fish and Game has been monitoring several rare and endangered species in Londonderry, including Blanding’s turtles, as part of a three-year wildlife conservation project in the State.
Residents should report any sightings of Blanding’s turtles (a medium-sized turtle distinguished by its bright yellow chin and throat) to Fish and Game by phone at 271-2461 or by email at RAARP@wildlife.nh.gov. Residents are also encouraged to take photos of rare and endangered animals they encounter.