NCC reminding drivers to watch for turtles

AM800-Blanding's Turtle - photo Nature Conservancy off Canada

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is asking drivers to watch for turtles on busy roads in areas close to wildlife. 

According to a release from the NCC, this is an active period for turtles setting off from their usual habitats to find mates and nesting sites. 

Turtle populations are currently listed as threatened or endangered in many provinces in Canada, including Ontario, where Blanding's turtles are more endangered than pandas. 

Jensen Edwards, the National Media Relations Manager for Nature Conservancy of Canada, says it's important to watch for turtles in places such as Ojibway Park.

"When they lay their eggs, few of them hatch and fewer make it to an age where they can reproduce," he continued. "We need to keep an eye out for them to give them the best chance they can to get to these nesting grounds or wetlands."

Edwards says all of the turtles in Southern Ontario are considered at-risk species. 

"There are different levels of at-risk but the most threatened is the Blanding's turtle and the Spiny softshell turtles where the other three turtle species in Southern Ontario are species of special concern."

He says with the infrastructure of Southern Ontario, turtles are likely to cross the road.  

"If we don't have the infrastructure in a place like little underground turtle crossings, which do exist in some parts of the province and Quebec, then we need to give them a helping hand to get them across safely," Edwards said.

The NCC suggests moving a turtle if they're on the road, if it is safe to do so.

The NCC is an organization that aims to protect and care for Canada's most important natural areas. 


- with files from AM800's Live and Local