Northeastern Louisiana is a Freshwater turtle biodiversity hotspot and West Monroe's Lazarre Park offers prime nesting conditions that are becoming exceedingly rare these days along The Ouachita River. Some of the Louisiana Master Naturalists, Park managers and interested members of the public joined Professor John Carr and his students from the ULM Biology Department at West Monroe's beautiful Lazarre Park on September 20th, 2021.
It was hazy and bright, perfect conditions for release of three freshwater turtle species back into their Ouachita river home. The Smooth Softshells (Apalone mutica) and the endemic Ouachita Map Turtles (Graptemys ouachitensis) are species of conservation concern. The Mississippi Map Turtles (Graptemys pseudogeographica kohni) are more widespread but nonetheless suffer from increasing predation and so their conservation is also important.
Professor Carr raised these hatchlings from eggs that he and his students had formerly collected at Lazarre. Raising the hatchlings in incubators protects them from possible predation by foxes and raccoons. He is going to deliver a report of this project to the authorities and LDWF about this important habitat. For more information about Dr. Carr see https://webservices.ulm.edu/facultyac... and https://www.ulm.edu/~carr/
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