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Drivers advised to give turtles a ‘brake’ – BradfordToday

Jun 27th, 2022

NEWS RELEASENATURE CONSERVANCY OF CANADA*************************The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is reminding motorists to watch for turtles braving busy roads to find mates and to get to nesting grounds.

The NCC is asking drivers to give turtles a brake by turning a keen eye to the threatened creatures who may be basking on the pavement or simply trying to cross the road.

This is an active period for turtles that are setting off from their usual habitats to find mates and nesting sites. The many at-risk species of turtle in Canada, like other reptiles, are cold-blooded, and often bask on gravel, sandy roadsides and warm asphalt. And while a turtles shell can protect it from predators, its no match for a motor vehicle. Every turtle lost in a vehicle collision has a significant domino effect for its entire species.

Turtles count on the survival of the adults, especially the females, in order to maintain population health. Turtles can take up to 25 years before reproducing, and their egg survival rate is very low. Approximately only two eggs out of 100 become adult turtles. A loss of one adult turtle is the loss of 20 years of development. Studies show that just a five per cent increase in annual mortality can put an entire population at risk of decline.

Turtle populations are listed as threatened or endangered in many provinces as they have diminished due to collisions with vehicles. The NCC encourages motorists to slow down when they see a turtle on the road and check to be sure they can safely steer around it.

To learn how to help a turtle cross the road, watch our video on turtle safety here.

In Ontario, where Blandings turtles are more endangered than pandas, all eight turtle species are at risk. In Quebec, five turtle species are provincially designated as threatened or vulnerable.

Three turtle species in Nova Scotia are at risk, including Blandings turtles, which can only be found in three areas. Wood turtles are listed as threatened in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, while snapping turtles are categorized as vulnerable/special concern.

Turtles are in many ways the unsung heroes of our wetland ecosystems, said Kristyn Ferguson, program director with the NCC. They help keep wetlands clean and healthy by eating dead plants, insects and animals, and play the role of the wetland janitor.

Species

Special concern

Threatened

Endangered

Extirpated

Blanding's turtle

ON, QC, NS

Eastern box turtle

ON

Eastern musk turtle

ON, QC

Eastern painted turtle

NB, NS, QC

Midland painted turtle

ON, QC

Northern map turtle

ON, QC

Pacific pond turtle

BC

Snapping turtle

MB, NB, NS, ON, QC, SK

Spiny softshell turtle

ON, QC

Spotted turtle

ON, QC

Western painted turtle

BC (Intermountain)

BC (Coastal)

Wood turtle

NB, NS, ON, QC

Loggerhead sea turtle (Atlantic Ocean)

NS, NB, NL, PEI

Leatherback sea turtle (Pacific and Atlantic)

BC, QC, NS, NB, NL, PEI

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Drivers advised to give turtles a 'brake' - BradfordToday

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