Colin’s healthy and on the move in Rouge Park.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Colin, our research Blanding’s turtle, has had his yearly health check and is back on the move in Rouge Park.

Radio-tracking of a single juvenile Blanding’s turtle, named Colin, continues in Rouge Park’s area. This Species at Risk turtle has been tracked since 2005 to provide data on the use of restored and newly created wetland complexes. Colin is a keystone species whose movements, habits and health are being used as a component of our headstart program. If you want to release baby turtles we better do it in a habitat with a successful living adult!

Past Adopt-A-Pond researchers determined that the Rouge Park could support a greater number of turtles than the present population, as turtle density was low compared to other urban areas in North America. Research also found that without intensive management actions, Blanding’s turtles will likely be extirpated from Rouge Park by 2100! Planning for Blanding’s turtle recovery and management will ensure that this species continues to persist within the Park and can reach numbers that will sustain populations.

Rouge Park provides one of the largest remaining expanses of habitat for Blanding’s turtles and other Species at Risk turtles in an otherwise fragmented, urbanized landscape. A landscape also connecting a large portion of historic turtle habitat from the Oak Ridges Moraine to Lake Ontario. Turtles have faced numerous threats in Rouge Park including habitat loss, road mortality, poaching, and subsidized predator populations, but with careful management and education initiatives these threats can be mitigated.

Adopt-A-Pond is designing educational programs and headstart projects to address these threats and provide long-term solutions for population sustainability of turtle SAR in Rouge Park. Rouge Park provides a unique opportunity not only to sustain its existing Blanding’s turtle population, but also to provide source-protected populations that could colonize other coastal marshes and watersheds in the GTA.

You can help too! Visit the beautiful wetlands and trails in Rouge Park and help research by submitting any turtle sighting you see to the Ontario Turtle Tally website!