SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) - The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says it is taking steps to protect the state's alligator snapping turtles.
The department teamed up with Oklahoma and Louisiana to release 97 turtles into southern Illinois creeks last week in an effort to revive the declining species.
Staff from the Illinois Natural History Survey and the Peoria Zoo helped prepare the turtles for their release.
Students from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Pontiac Township High School and Whitney M. Young High School also helped.
The multi-state recovery project is funded by a State Wildlife Grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
It will cover the costs of monitoring and tracking the radio transmitter-equipped turtles