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Last updated on Wednesday, June 1, 2011
(UNDATED - The state has temporarily relocated about 60 turtles who have made their homes along the path of the I-69 Extension in southwest Indiana.
The eastern box turtle is not endangered, but its numbers have been dropping; it's listed with a lesser designation of "special concern."
The Department of Natural Resources has rounded up as many as it can find near the highway construction and placed them in temporary custody in a wildlife refuge.
DNR Spokesman Phil Bloom says the turtle's territorial nature means there's a risk in uprooting them, but says it was the best option available.
He says the turtles appear to be thriving.
The department hired an owner of turtle-sniffing dogs to locate the softball-sized turtles. It's used GPS technology to mark the spot where each turtle was picked up.
They'll be returned as close as possible to those points once construction is far enough along for right-of-way fences to be put up and keep the turtles from getting run over.
Bloom says the state has identified additional turtle populations on other sections of the planned highway.
The department will follow a similar procedure as construction reaches those areas.
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