The menu read: “to delight the palate, soup made from threatened freshwater turtles.”

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The sale of Species at Risk turtles for food has hit close to home. Da Zhao Jian, owner of Fortune Seafood Restaurant on Midland Ave. Scarborough (that’s only 10 minutes from the Toronto Zoo!) was fined $10,000 this month for selling Spiny softshell turtles (Apalone spinifera) as an entree at his restaurant. Officials from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources found 31 illegal turtles packed in a freezer at the restaurant during an inspection of the seafood establishment.

 The Spiny softshell is listed as Threatened under the Ontario Endangered Species Act and Threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act due to its declining numbers in Ontario. The species is also designated as a Specially Protected Reptile under the Ontario Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, making it illegal to hunt, harm and especially to eat!

 If you see illegal activities concerning Ontario’s wildlife, please report it to the Ministry Of Natural Resources’ TIPS line at: 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) or 1-800-222-8477.  If we don’t speak up for our wildlife, who will?

 The full article can be found in the Toronto Star: Alex Ballingall, Published Mar 26 2013

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