Arkansas Researchers Count Mississippi River Delta Turtles

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has launched a three-year study to track aquatic turtles in the Mississippi River Delta.

Researchers have been trapping, marking and releasing nearly 100 turtles a day since May. They notch the turtles’ shells so they can be identified if caught again.

Brett DeGregorio, who heads the Fish and Wildlife Cooperative Research unit of the U.S. Geological Survey, tells the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the count will provide the commission with data so it can determine if restrictions on turtle harvesting are needed in Arkansas.

Commercial harvesting is allowed in the Delta.

Ben Batten, chief of fisheries for the commission, says harvest regulation ensures the turtle population is in good condition.

The study is funded by a $107,963 grant from the commission. The University of Arkansas is contributing $97,243 to the study.

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This story has been corrected to show that Ben Batten, not Brett DeGregorio, said harvest regulation ensures the turtle population is in good condition.

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