Regular population monitoring of turtle turtles

The pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) is a species of semi-aquatic turtle that inhabits wetlands (ponds, ponds, and other stagnant or low-lying bodies of water) in virtually all of Europe, North Africa. and West Asia. Despite its wide distribution, however, it is under great anthropogenic pressure due to agricultural activities and changes in land use in recent decades that have led to the loss of their habitats and the fragmentation of their populations. The drying up of wetlands to gain land and the construction of infrastructure are some of the main causes of the decline that the species has experienced in recent times. It is currently listed as almost threatened worldwide, and vulnerable in the Iberian Peninsula, according to IUCN (2018).

La Selva maintains the best-preserved natural population in Catalonia (it has been reintroduced elsewhere), living in ponds, canals and streams. That is why the Emys Foundation (formerly ADEPAR) has been working for its preservation for more than 30 years. An annual sampling (in spring and autumn) of the ponds where the species is known has been carried out since 1987. This sampling consists of placing traps that allow the turtles to be captured and thus identify them individually, and to measure their size and weight. This allows us to estimate the size of the population, study its structure and identify the state of the animals. Based on this information, specific actions are carried out to promote the conservation of the species, such as the creation of new ponds or the recovery of natural spaces that allow connectivity between separate population centers.