Please be aware that we are in the peak turtle nesting season. Turtles will be moving from waterbodies to nesting sites often on the shoulders of roads from now until early fall.
Our turtle populations are on a decline, and female turtle populations are most at risk because they are prone to getting hit on the road while travelling to lay their eggs. Turtles are extremely important to the environment. They are an indicator species, which means their health and presence can tell us important things about the ecosystem they live in, like the quality of the water and soil around them. They play a huge role in the food web by eating and controlling prey populations and providing a prey source to other predators and they also are one of natures nutrient cyclers, they clean up decay, remove bacteria, and aid in habitat management. Not to mention, they are also a key cultural species reflected in our origin story (Turtle Island), traditions and ceremonies.
Here are some ways you can help the turtles during this season:
- Safely brake for turtles! If safe to do so, avoid hitting turtles with your vehicle!
- If you see a turtle on the road, and it is safe to do so, move her across in the direction she was heading (safe handling video – youtube.com/watch?v=Lgd_B6iKPxU)
- If you see a nesting turtle, typically has her rear-end halfway underground, call Megan at 613-396-3424 ext. 125 so the nest can be covered with a protector to keep predators out!
- If you see a nesting turtle keep your distance, disturbance can easily make them abandon their nest and alter their egg laying
- If you find an injured turtle you can contact Megan, Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre (SPWC) (613) 354-0264, or the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre (OTCC) 705-741-5000. Even with extensive injuries the amazing work of SPWC and/or OTCC can save the turtle’s life, and the eggs of badly injured females can be saved, properly raised and the hatchlings returned home!
- Do not handle turtles when not necessary for their safety
Enjoy this video highlighting a wonderful collaborative project that was completed last year and is ongoing to help our turtle populations!
Nyá:wen for helping us keep our turtle populations safe!