The Minnesota Zoo is leading conservation efforts to help save endangered species in Minnesota like moose, bison, butterflies, native mussels and freshwater turtles. Through the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, lottery proceeds help support some of the zoo’s conservation programs, including freshwater turtles.

Watch the video below to hear from the Minnesota Zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Specialist Dr. Tricia Markle who is leading the charge to help restore Minnesota’s freshwater turtle population and learn why they are so important for a healthy ecosystem.

You can help play your part for Minnesota’s freshwater turtles, too. The Minnesota Zoo offers these tips to protect Minnesota’s turtle populations:

  • When safe to do so, assist turtles across roads in the direction they are heading.
  • Do not disturb turtle nests and keep pets leashed near waterbodies where turtles are likely to be present.
  • Leave shorelines natural: encourage native vegetation and leave fallen trees—an important resource for basking turtles.
  • Don’t litter. This attracts turtle predators such as raccoons, skunks, and foxes, which readily feed on turtle eggs and young.
  • Keep stormwater free of pollutants—it drains into turtle habitat and can impact water quality and turtle food sources. Contaminants include pet waste, sidewalk/road salt, pesticides, and lawn fertilizers.