When was the last time you saw a box turtle in the wild?
Did you, like so many of us, enjoy watching its slow, steady plod through the grass? Were you treated to the sight of a turtle stretching its neck toward low-hanging tomatoes in the garden and snatching a bite with its hooked beak? Have you picked one up to admire closeup, only to have it shut itself away in its protective shell?
Those innocent pleasures are dwindling. Box turtle numbers have been declining steadily for years. The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species lists the woodland box turtle as vulnerable, although scientists do not yet have enough data to say how far the population has fallen.