Historic Win for Snapping Turtles in Ontario

This article is a follow up to a previous Adopt-A-Pond post titled “Help End the Snapping Turtle Hunt in Ontario

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Adult Snapping Turtle (Photo courtesy of: Adopt-A-Pond)

Hooray, we did it! As of April 1st 2017, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has announced that the Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) can no longer be hunted in Ontario. The Snapping Turtle is listed as a Species-At-Risk in Ontario by the Endangered Species Act (2007), yet was still allowed to be hunted. The Environmental Registry proposal received approximately 11,000 comments, which likely heavily influenced their decision. We’re so incredibly proud to have seen such a community based effort to ensure the protection and conservation of this quintessential Canadian species.

OMNRF comments: “Snapping Turtle is a long-lived species that reproduces slowly and is subject to other significant stressors such as road mortality. The Ministry has closed the Snapping Turtle season to help maintain populations of this species into the future.”

 

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Snapping Turtle Hatchling (Photo courtesy of: Evelyn Dore)

 

These efforts have dramatically helped the conservation of this incredible animal. There is still a lot of conservation work to be done though. Road mortalities are still having devastating effects on turtle populations across Ontario. Because turtles don’t reach sexual maturity until later on in life and because juvenile turtle mortality rates are so high, the death of even one adult snapping turtle can have a incredibly large impact on the overall success of local populations. As the weather continues to warm up, turtles will be emerging from hibernation and will become more active. If you spot a turtle on a road or path, be sure to lend a hand and help the turtle cross the road (in the direction they’re going) if it’s safe to do so. Snapping Turtles can be tricky to move, so please follow tips in this Youtube Video. As always, don’t forget to submit your sightings to the Ontario Turtle Tally.

Again, thanks for your dedication, and comments. It was truly a collaborative effort to end the Snapping Turtle hunt in Ontario. We couldn’t have done it without you.

From all of us here at Toronto Zoo & Adopt-A-Pond, we sincerely thank you!

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