Twelve snapping turtles to be released into wetland habitat

snapping turtlesTwelve snapping turtle hatchlings, rescued as eggs, are being returned to their wetland habitat at a function in King City on Thursday, June  30 – from 10 a.m. ET12 p.m. ET.

The turtle release, at Eaton Hall (outdoors), Seneca CollegeKing Campus 990 Dufferin St., King City, ON, L7B 1B3, is being hosted by the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre.

The turtle eggs were discovered in fall 2015 on a bridge scheduled to be torn down at Seneca’s King Campus. The Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre (OTCC), was able to collect, incubate and hatch the eggs as part of their head-starting program.  Now large enough, the turtles are ready to be returned to the wild.

Attending the event will be:

  • Dr. Sue Carstairs, executive and medical director of the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre and Professor at Seneca College
  • David Miller, president and CEO, WWF-Canada
  • Elizabeth Hendriks, vice-president freshwater, WWF-Canada
  • David Agnew, president, Seneca College
  • Laura Hearn, senior manager, community investment marketing at TELUS
  • Steve Pellegrini, Mayor of the Township of King
    snapping turtle

    Snapping turtles are the largest turtle species in Ontario and the largest freshwater and terrestrial turtles in Canada.

With the help of WWF-Canada’s Go Wild Community Grants presented by TELUS, the OTCC is hosting the  public even, offering a rare opportunity to see a species at risk returned to the wild. Turtles from OTCC’s education program will also be present to raise awareness about threats to turtles and teach the public how they can help turtles recover.

The 12 hatchlings are just one clutch of hundreds that are helped each year by OTCC. In 2015, OTCC hatched more than 1,000 turtles through the head-starting program. More than 500 adult turtles receive treatment at the centre’s turtle hospital annually. WF-Canada is working to better understand and raise awareness about the threats faced by freshwater species, including turtles, by performing the first ever nation-wide assessment of our watersheds.

Threats to Ontario’s turtles:

  • In Ontario, seven of the eight turtle species are considered at risk.
  • Less than 1 per cent of eggs make it to adulthood, so every turtle hatchling saved through OTCC’s head-starting program is crucial to preventing turtles from disappearing from our ecosystems.
  • Habitat loss and fragmentation have played a major role in the decline of turtles as marshes, swamps, bogs and fens where turtles live are drained, filled or otherwise altered.
  • Road mortality is also becoming a major threat to turtles as more roads are built through remaining wetlands.
  • Other threats include the pet trade, human consumption, pollution, competition with non-native turtle species such as red-eared sliders and increasing populations of predators that are benefiting from human settlement.

About Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre:
Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, home of the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre, is a registered charity whose goal is to protect and conserve Ontario’s native turtles and the habitat in which they live. The centre operates a turtle hospital that treats, rehabilitates and releases injured turtles, performs extensive research in the field to further conservation initiatives and runs a comprehensive education and outreach program.

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit  – CNW

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