The specially trained dogs, to try to save some of the most endangered species of turtles and tortoises

to connectVideoSpecially-trained dogs to assist in the finding of rare sea turtles on the endangered and threatened land

Faced with the opportunity to be threatened, scientists are specially-trained dogs to rare turtles and tortoises.

FRANKLIN GROVE, Ill. — Some dogs delight in bones and treats. John Rucker seven, Boykin spaniels, and they are excited about the praise after finding the ornate box turtle.

“I’m not the only person in the world who travels all over the United States, with seven of the dogs to do this for our customers,” Rucker said jokingly before adding, “it’s probably very, very, very few people would want this type of life because I can sleep in a tent every night.”

It’s come a long way from their home in Montana to have all eight of them. However, it is a prime time for it to find the turtles, according to Rucker.

When you are in the Midwest, from about April to August in his van — is packed with a tent for shelter, food, and water for the dogs-with the help of the customers are to find an endangered species that can only be found in the tall grass, the meadow is growing.


The measurement of no more than 6 inches in length, and the ornate box turtle is listed as a “threatened” species in Illinois.

On a recent day, a customer’s Nachusa Grasslands in Franklin Grove, Ill. Rucker and his seven dogs, Lazarus of bethany, Prawn, Sepia, Jaybird, Jenny Wren, Rooster, and man, it was 14 in therapy in about an hour.

“The dogs themselves are amazing tools for conservation,” Dr. Matt Allender, the director of the wildlife epidemiology laboratory, University of Illinois, said. “They allow us to be a lot of turtles and tortoises, to assess health in real-time. If we’re trying to look for sea turtles, people can find it, it might be a turtle, to make the two-and-a-half to four hours to look at the time with the dogs, you can find four of these in an hour.”

The land at Nachusa is wet, and it’s hard to get around. As a group, veterinary students are to follow the dogs to the wounds of the cows grazing on the land.

The deep holes and muddy ground, filled with cow manure not to stop nor to slow down the race to the task at hand.

“Take the turtle, find the turtle,” Rucker calls out to the dog. “Do Mink. Take a look at the tail wag. It’s a little bit of that.”

Release of Mink and the most likely to find a box to go, so they leave the dog alone for a little while, and they are looking for off-trail use. The other six dogs are to be allowed to take a different path.

John Rucker of Montana with his dog, at the Nachusa Grasslands in Franklin Grove, Ill., in search of the ornate box turtle. (FOX NEWS/ ROAD HICKS)

The turtles are threatened, as they are not infringing on their property rights. They need the tall grass to live, and very little of it remains to be seen.

“The ornate box turtle is a very important part of the prairie ecosystem, which once covered the majority of the states, such as Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, arkansas, Nebraska, and Kansas,” said Elizabeth, Bach, and the ecosystem restoration scientist for the Nachusa Grasslands. “With the completion of the European settlers, most of that land was converted to agricultural practices. The result is that we have lost more than 99 percent of the historic range of the tall grass prairie here in Illinois. Species such as the ornate box turtle that is really bothered by that. They don’t have a longer range, and they need space to move around.”

It is the goal of scientists at the Nachusa Grasslands to recover from the high grass of the prairie. This is where the sea turtles come in handy.

These turtles are very small in size, but they play an important role in the evaluation of the grounds on which they are based.

“The turtles will be able to tell us a very interesting story to tell,” Dr. Allender stated. “The health of the turtle is the representative of the health of the environment. They are using everything in their environment on their health. The turtles were in poor health and are representative of the poor conditions of the environment.”

As soon as the turtles are to be found, some of the students will mark the location where the turtle was found, while the other students were studying and the kinds of short to be able to determine whether or not it’s a he, or a new turtle that has been discovered. They put the turtle in a breathable canvas bag, before it is examined.

“We have to do a physical examination, as seen through the eyes, ears, nose, throat, and look at the shape of the shell,” said Dr. Allender. “All of these things are indicators of how they will make use of the area, and their general state of health and well-being.”

In the interest of the ornate box turtle reaches further than that of Illinois. As In other Midwestern states such as Iowa, the biologists say, that the study of this particular turtle was the key to the prevention of the loss of a single species, which can disrupt the eco-system.


“There’s been a number of reports recently about the number of species expected to become extinct […]biologists talk about species loss, for a long, long time,” said Andy McCollum, professor of biology at Cornell University. “I think a lot of people think that there is no economic advantage to having a viable population of native species. However, we need to have a great working environment for all of the various ecosystem services that are provided for such things as clean air and water. In other words, these turtles may be a very small part of the research for that.”

The ornate Box Turtle was found at Nachusa Grasslands, as found in the Franklin Grove, Il (FOX NEWS/ROAD HICKS)

With the help of Rucker and his dogs, conservation groups such as the Nashua Meadows, trying to bring them back to what they have to say, this area will be lost.

“It’s just a labor of love,” Rucker said. “As for me, I’m like a dog to work, and it gives me a reason to try and continue to be, a young man, even though I am 71 years of age. It’s kind of been the driving force in my life right now. I’m hoping that I can leave the world a better place through my turtle to work.”

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