The beautiful reptile was confused at first but quickly resumed its journey; its head popped back up when it touched the ground. I felt exhilarated knowing that I might have saved one life in just a few minutes. That made me realize that opportunities for kindness are everywhere and rarely require much time or money.
Why should we care about turtles?
They play an important role in many ecosystems, where they serve as scavengers, herbivores, and carnivores. They account for a significant portion of the overall biomass in these environments and are vital to their health and function. Because of that and the liability created by building roads in their habitats, humans are responsible for protecting them.
As towns and cities expand and take over more of the land where Turtles live, it disturbs their lives. One-third of U.S. turtles are endangered, and every state has at least one species listed as threatened or endangered. Some estimates suggest that the declining number of turtles is due to increasing traffic near their homelands. The educated guess is that road kills result in 10%-20% of yearly turtle deaths.
So when you see a little fellow in need, consider helping it, but remember the following precautions.
Always be safe – watch for oncoming vehicles, signal properly when pulling over, and recognize your surroundings.
If possible, try to stand guard as the animal crosses the road by itself.
If not, move it to the other side in the same direction it was going, placing it on a car mat or holding it firmly by the back.
We also encourage you to get involved with conservation projects and learn more about the ecology and wildlife of your state. These are all great ways to make a difference.