Blanding’s Turtle Tracking in Winter by Kylie Riches

Most people think of field work as a summer activity, but we do it year-round! In March, Adopt-A-Pond staff visited Rouge National Urban Park (RNUP) to track Clementine, an adult Blanding’s turtle from one of our earlier studies.

Adopt-A-Pond has been monitoring turtles in RNUP since 1999 to understand more about the local species and how they live. Our field crew recently found Clementine again this summer and has been learning more from her since.

As it is winter, local turtles are in hibernation. Since they do not move during this time, we only track once a month. Clementine was in the same spot as in February and seems to be doing well.

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Finding the pond where Clementine is hibernating

The goal of our head-start program is to re-establish the local population of this at-risk species. We raise Blanding’s turtles from eggs and reintroduce them into the wild at two years of age. We monitor a subset of released individuals using radio-telemetry to assess the program and address other research and conservation questions. We track 2-3 times a week in summer and once a month in winter.

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Pinpointing Clementine’s location using radio-telemetry (the antenna picks up the frequency emitted from a tracker on Clementine’s shell)

Keep visiting our blog and Facebook page for updates on the turtles. Our current two year olds will be going out to the wild in June!

Visit our website for more information on what you can do to help conserve our wetlands and the animals that live within.