An effort to bolster the Everglades National Park’s wild turkey population got a boost this week – when wildlife biologists relocated several dozen birds from other areas of the state.
The wild turkey population in the park basically disappeared over the past few decades – mostly due to illegal hunting.
So about 5 years ago, biologists relocated two dozen of the birds from private lands. But only a few of them survived, so biologists have now captured 31 more birds and released them into the park.
Wild turkey management program coordinator with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission – Larry Perrin – says they basically cheat to catch the wily birds…using cracked corn for bait, and what are called rocket nets.
“A rocket net is a rectangle-shaped net that we hide in front of that bait pile – and then we have attached to it what are called rockets. But when the turkeys come in we’ll have an individual sitting in a blind, and when the turkeys get to feeding on that bait they discharge those rockets and shoot the net over the top of the turkeys – because turkeys are extremely fast in their initial take off, and so that net has to get over the top of them very quick or they’ll get out from beneath it.”
Perrin says they caught the turkeys during 2 days of trapping.
10 of them are fitted with tiny radio transmitters to allow biologists to track them…all the birds are marked with wing tags.
He says they’ll monitor this group closely, but if it doesn’t flourish, they may have to rethink the program.
Tuesday, 10 January 2006 00:00