Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. A few decades ago, box turtles were considered common, but today they are many lists of troubled species; Florida populations have suffered greatly. The single most important cause for the decline in box turtle populations is habitat destruction. Although each box turtle may require two-and-a-half to twelve acres, those acres must provide shelter, nest sites, a continuing supply of food, and access to a mate. As natural habitats have been converted to urban landscapes and criss-crossed with roads, populations have become isolated and one by one have disappeared. If a road goes through the middle of a 50 year-old box turtle's home range, the turtle doesn't leave, he just continues moving about the remaining habitat, crossing the road to get from one area to another and often gets hit. Lawn mowers, children, dogs, and fire also take a toll on box turtle populations. It does no good to pick up a turtle and release it in a safer place; box turtles are homebodies with very good sense of direction. They usually head right back to where they came from, and many don't make it.'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.