Hope for Wildlife saving turtles hit by cars

A wildlife rehabilitation organization is urging drivers to keep an eye out for an animal that’s not so easy to spot: turtles.

Summertime driving in the Maritimes often means looking out for deer. But one wildlife rehabilitation organization is urging drivers to keep an eye out for an animal that’s not so easy to spot: turtles.

While turtles are usually found near water, the warm summer months see the reptiles search for dry land to lay their eggs. That’s why Hope for Wildlife, a non-profit that began back in 1997, is currently rehabilitating 30 turtles who have been hit by cars.

Hope for Wildlife founder, Hope Swinimer, explained that warm gravel is just the right consistency for turtles to lay their eggs.

Swinimer is asking drivers to slow down on the road and keep an eye out for turtles laying eggs or crossing the street. She encourages anyone who comes across a turtle that has been hit by a car to call or bring them to Hope for Wildlife.

“It’s really amazing what they can heal from,” she noted, adding that turtles are very resilient. “They can live through a lot of trauma and our doctor is incredibly good at fixing them up.”

That job belongs to Dr. Hazel Eaglesome, a veterinarian with Hope for Wildlife. Her work begins by assessing the injuries to the turtle while determining if the turtle is both conscious and can move their limbs. Next, it’s on to the x-ray booth to identify any internal injuries.

“We try and make it as quick as possible for them because a lot of them this time of year are coming in with eggs and they want a place to lay them,” she said.

While the job can wear heavy on the heart, Eaglesome says she’s very glad to be helping rehabilitate injured animals.

“They fascinate me,” she noted. “I’m just thrilled to be working with them.”