Only one box turtle was found at the bird sanctuary in Silver Beach on May 7 and removed temporarily to enable brush clearance of the area. The turtle was then returned to the site.
The work was scheduled for Monday, May 9, forcing the decision to go ahead with the search to save the turtles before that occurred.
But foul weather likely resulted in fewer turtles being found at the site, according to Julia Weisenberg, Silver Beach Association corresponding secretary.
The effort was undertaken by Lee Behrens, former Deputy Commanding Officer of the Nassau County Police Mounted Unit. Since her retirement, she’s been a volunteer with “Deer Search” and a national organization, United Blood Trackers. The dog she brought to the Island for the Silver Beach search came from France where Ms. Behrens went to adopt her.
Ms. Behrens trained her dogs to track injured deer and later retrained them to hunt for turtles.
Plans call for identifying other sites on the Island for turtle tracking, Ms. Weisenberg said.
Ms. Behrens and members of the Silver Beach Association are hope to return to the community and also hope other areas due for clear cutting, such as the West Neck Preserve, acquired with Community Preservation Fund money, will take steps to repeat the program.
Silver Beach Association Vice President Doug Sherrod noted the program is to save the vulnerable box turtles from harm on private and preserved sites throughout the Island.
“The average box turtle has a life expectancy of 20 to 100 years,” Mr. Sherrod said. “Our goal is to help them survive and breed in our community.”