Captain Sunshine Makes Another Outreach Appearance
Amazing Animals by Kyle MacDonald of DurhamRegion.com featured the Toronto Zoo Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation program’s outreach Blanding’s turtle, Captain Sunshine! The very friendly Captain helps us teach kids about turtle conservation in schools across the GTA! On his days off he enjoys gourmet meals of nutrient gel, smelt and earthworms followed by frequent episodes of basking under his heat lamp or lounging outside by his outdoor pool.
You can read the full article HERE, which features wonderful footage of the Captain Sunshine enjoying a walk through some late summer flowers.
Amazing Animals video series gets up close and personal with some interesting Toronto Zoo animals including a Blanding’s turtle, a royal python and kangaroos.
Captain Sunshine is believed to be 45 to 50 years old, a relatively common age for a Blanding’s turtle, which are known to live for more than 75 years. Just like the captain, Blanding’s turtles sport a distinctive yellow throat and yellow spotting on a black domed shell. These turtles live in Southern Ontario and Nova Scotia, and a few locations in Quebec. They can be mostly found around wetlands, marshes, ponds and lakes in shallow areas with a lot of water plants.
Blanding’s turtles are considered to be a species at risk, and are most threatened by the loss of habitat and being hit my vehicles when crossing roads.
Toronto Zoo has dedicated their time in helping to sustain the population of Rouge National Urban Park’s Blanding’s turtles through research and a headstart program. Headstarting is the process of raising a species past their most vulnerable time, and then releasing them back into the wild. It takes about two years before the Toronto Zoo headstart Blanding’s turtles are big enough to more easily evade predators, like raccoons. The headstarts are released into wetlands of the Rouge National Urban Park; an area that once supported a large population of species at risk turtles.
For more information about Toronto Zoo conservation programs visit: http://www.torontozoo.com/conservation/