How clean is the Bronx River? Snapping turtles help scientists figure it out.When Sykes got the turtles’ tests back from the lab, he didn’t see any signs of mercury.
“That was a surprise,” he says.
He did see lead and PCBs, though. He thinks the turtles may still be absorbing these toxins from the river. That’s because there’s a “similar pattern in both the longer-lived snapping turtles and in the shorter-lived sliders [that] suggests that the toxin exposure is more recent,” Sykes says.
That means the Bronx River still needs more cleaning up. But there is good news. The turtles are thriving in parts of the river.