Movement and habitat use of headstarted Blanding's turtles in Michigan

  • Published source details Starking-Szymanski M.D., Yoder-Nowak T., Rybarczyk G. & Dawson H.A. (2018) Movement and habitat use of headstarted Blanding's turtles in Michigan. Journal of Wildlife Management, 82, 1516-1527.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Release captive-bred reptiles into the wild: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Release captive-bred reptiles into the wild: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

    A randomized study in 2014–2016 in a wetland complex in Michigan, USA (Starking‐Szymanski et al. 2018) found that all released captive-bred Blanding’s turtles Emydoidea blandingii survived their first winter hibernation and most survived at least one year after release. All 24 turtles survived to the spring after release (approximately 9 months) and at least 16 turtles survived for 17 months (only one turtle death was confirmed by the presence of a carcass). Survivorship was lower for turtles released into open water habitat (best case: 5 of 6 turtles survived, worst case: 2 of 6 turtles survived) compared to turtles released into areas vegetated with cattail Typha sp. or willow Salix sp. (best case: 18 of 18 turtles survived, worst case: 13 of 18 turtles survived; no statistical tests were carried out). Average home ranges were larger for turtles released into open water habitat (2.9 hectares) compared to turtles in cattail- or willow-vegetated habitat (0.4–0.6 hectares). In total 24 individuals were selected randomly from turtles bred, hatched and reared in captivity. Turtles were at least one year old and shell length was >10.2 cm. Turtles were released in June 2014 into four wetland habitats (6 individuals per group): open water, sparse cattail vegetation, dense cattail vegetation and willow (see original paper for details). Turtles were monitored by radio transmitter in June 2014–November 2015 (for 515 days in total) once a week during May-September and every two weeks during October–April. Turtles were recaptured autumn 2014, spring 2015, and autumn 2015 to replace/remove transmitters. Best case survival estimates are based on known mortality, worst case include turtles whose radio transmitters were lost or failed and turtles were presumed dead. 

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust