The first bog turtle was observed in a Catawba Lands Conservancy preserve in 1991. Since 2006, researchers and students from the Herpetology Lab have been studying this population of turtles—one of only a few populations of bog turtles in North Carolina.
Surveys for bog turtles have been conducted regularly at this site and numbers of turtles have declined substantially from the mid 1990s. In fact, since 2007, only a few turtles have been observed. Over the course of 24 days of intensive searching in 2012, 10 turtles were identified, including two previously unidentified juveniles.
Bog turtles are dependent on relatively rare and specialized wetland habitats such as bogs and fens. This dependency, in conjunction with their small size and preference for wallowing in the mud, makes them really difficult to find. Bog turtles are legally protected or regulated in all states in which they live, but in North Carolina legal regulations do not provide protection of the turtles' habitat, making additional conservation efforts essential.