Celebrate March Break at the Toronto Zoo with Parks Canada! March 8th to Sunday March 16th, 2014

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Saturday March 8th to Sunday March 16th, 2014

Parks Canada Event Hours 10:00am to 4:00pm

Zoo March Break Hours 9:30am to 6:00pm (last admission 5pm)

On hand for the fun will be our partner Parks Canada who will be heading up a special March Break Activity Centre where you can get one of four Species at Risk temporary tattoos, including the Adopt-A-Ponds favorite Ontario reptiles the Blanding’s turtle and Eastern Milksnake. Find out how the Toronto Zoo works with Parks Canada to help save many native Canadian species, and how you can contribute to the protection and recovery of these animals and their habitats. Plus you can visit Toronto’s favourite giant panda pair, Er Shun and Da Mao, and our new polar bear cub.

Toronto Zoo and Parks Canada are joining forces to help Blanding’s turtles living in Toronto! With such fragmented habitat, turtles face many pressures in urban areas. As a result we have seen significant declines in the number of Blanding’s turtles living in the Rouge Valley. Toronto Zoo is using its world class wildlife experts to design a program that will reintroduce more Blanding’s turtles back into the rivers and wetlands of the Rouge Valley where they once thrived. The baby turtles are raised at the Zoo for two years until they reach a size where they are less likely to become snacks for predators; then they are released into wetlands managed by the Parks Canada team. In 2014 our first group of 10 baby turtles will be released into Rouge National Urban Park!

If you and your family are visiting the Park and see a Blanding’s turtle, let us know! Be sure to report your sightings to Ontario Turtle Tally!

Winter in Canada can be tough on wildlife, especially when an animal can’t create its own body heat! Throughout the Rouge Valley there are openings in the ground and man-made building foundations that small animals spend the winter in, especially snakes. A Toronto Zoo team of wildlife biologists is partnering with Parks Canada to monitor and track the movements of Eastern Milksnakes living in the Rouge National Urban Park to learn more about population numbers and find out where they hibernate. With this information we can make sure that important habitat areas are protected and properly managed so that these animals continue to have a safe place to spend their winters.

If you and your family are visiting Rouge National Urban Park and see an Eastern Milksnake, let us know by reporting your observation to aap@torontozoo.ca! By learning more about where snakes go, we can do a better job of protecting the habitats that sustain them!

A little something extra: Did you know? Toronto Zoo has also worked with Parks Canada in other parts of the country to bring Blanding’s turtles back to the wild! The Zoo raised 56 baby turtles that were released into the wilds of Kejimikujik National Park in 2011!

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