Endangered Shore Turtles Don’t Have Protection From Cars, Yet

CAPE MAY COUNTY, NJ (CBS) — There is a renewed debate down the shore about endangered diamondback terrapins. At issue, again, are drivers who put the turtles at risk.

State law protects them from being harvested for food. But on bay-side roads where the terrapins live, it’s difficult to protect them.

Just ask Cape May County State Senator Jeff Van Drew.

“During the mating season, particularly in May and June and some of July, they cross the road to get from one end to the other end of the road, particularly the pregnant females,” Van Drew told KYW Newsradio. “And hundreds of them just get squashed by oncoming traffic.”

Van Drew has written to the mayors of Sea Isle City, Ocean City, and Upper Township on the mainland asking for help

“There is a small fence, a very small fence,” Van Drew added. “Something that’s only probably a foot high that can be put along those roadways and those meadows to prevent them from crossing those areas and to keep them safe.”

Warning signs are already posted in those areas for drivers to be on the lookout.

An e-mail from a spokesman for Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian suggests they’re open to “any potential measure to further protect wildlife and the environment.”

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