New Blanding’s turtle exhibit open!
The Toronto Zoo along with Parks Canada, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) are proud to announce an exciting new opportunity for members of our community at the Toronto Zoo. The new Blanding’s Turtle Exhibit is now open in the Americas Pavilion for guests of the Toronto Zoo to see and experience. This new exhibit offers a turtle’s-eye-view of one of the Toronto Zoo and Parks Canada’s most successful conservation programmes!
The Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme began reintroducing baby Blanding’s turtles in June 2014. To date, 116 baby Blanding’s turtles have been released into the wild. The Blanding’s turtle is a long-lived species, with a life span of up to 80 years, and has inhabited the local Rouge Valley for thousands of years; though prior to 2014, its future was uncertain since as few as six adult Blanding’s turtles remained.
Blanding’s turtles are rescued as eggs from non-viable nests in a stable source population in southern Ontario and raised in a protected environment at the Toronto Zoo for two years. These turtles get a ‘head-start’ in life by being raised past their most vulnerable stages where they would otherwise have faced an increased chance of predation from animals like raccoons. Once turtles reach two years of age, they are released into the wetlands of Rouge National Urban Park and monitored. Parks Canada, the TRCA, the OMNRF, UTSC, and the Toronto Zoo believe that this type of head-starting and reintroduction of the turtles, along with long term monitoring and ongoing habitat restoration, are keys to the species’ survival in the Rouge National Urban Park.
You will now be able to see 50 hatchling turtles in their “turtle nursery” and watch as our Keepers monitor their growth by providing routine check-ups as they develop. Visitors can also read weekly progress updates at the exhibit, just as you’d see in our behind-the-scenes labs! Plus, come June 2018; more than 50 eggs will be viewable and you can watch in real time as they hatch!