WORKING TOGETHER ON FUTURE RESEARCH NEEDS OF THE BLANDING’S TURTLE
A TREASURED CANADIAN ENDANGERED SPECIES
Photo Credit: Parks Canada
On Tuesday, October 3, 2017, the Toronto Zoo’s Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme hosted an important meeting with partner organizations to discuss future research plans for our Blanding’s turtle head-start project. Partners in attendance included representatives from Parks Canada, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, University of Toronto Scarborough and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.
The Blanding’s turtle is listed as Endangered federally and Threatened provincially and they are therefore legally protected. Turtles have a long life span and do not reach sexual maturity until they are 15 to 20 years old; it is therefore crucial for them to live long lives in order to reproduce at levels sufficient to sustain local populations. These life history features make them highly sensitive to human threats including habitat loss and fragmentation, wetland drainage, road mortality, and increased levels of predation in urban areas. While the Blanding’s turtle has inhabited the Rouge Valley for thousands of years, this local population was facing almost imminent extinction in this area prior to the initiation of the Toronto Zoo’s head-start program. This extremely vulnerable population has been carefully monitored for over a decade now and head start turtles have been released each year since 2014.
This meeting was important to bring the community together and to discuss how we can continue restoring this wild population of Blanding’s turtle, which plays a vital role in the ecosystem. Future research projects and priorities were also discussed in detail and we are in the process of developing an action plan to guide our recovery efforts for these rare and special turtles in the coming years.
For more information on the Blanding’s turtle head-start program
IT’S BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND…
TURTLES ARE TOPS AT THE TORONTO ZOO!
This $100 turtle adoption package was so popular in 2016 that we brought it back this year. This is your chance to name one of Toronto Zoo’s 49 baby Blanding’s turtles. These little turtles will be released into the wild in 2018 as part of the Toronto Zoo’s turtle head-starting project. So go ahead, name a turtle, support an important conservation program and receive a fabulous “adoption” package.
CLICK HERE for photos & video of June 2017’s Blanding’s turtle release in Rouge National Urban Park. The public can help protect the turtles by avoiding their nesting areas and by contacting authorities if they observe harmful behavior toward turtles or suspicious behaviour in their habitat. The location of the wetland housing the reintroduced turtles will not be disclosed at this time to help minimize disturbances and give the animals the best chance of surviving.
CLICK HERE to report turtle poaching, please contact Crime Stoppers. The Toronto Zoo and TRCA began collecting information on and monitoring Blanding’s turtles in the Rouge Valley in 2005. Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry provided funding, permits and in-kind support for Blanding’s turtle monitoring in the Rouge Valley in previous years. With the area slated to become Canada’s first national urban park, Parks Canada has come on board and will continue to work on a long-term turtle monitoring program. Earth Rangers, an environmental conservation organization focused on engaging youth in the protection of nature, also provided support for the project by building a facility to house the turtle eggs and babies at the Toronto Zoo.
MORE UPCOMING GRRREAT EVENTS!
Bump In The Night
Saturday, October 21 & Sunday, October 22
(ages 5 and up)
Join us as the sun goes down on the Zoo for an exciting evening of discovery! Through a short presentation learn more about the unique characteristics of nocturnal creatures and how they manage to live in the dark. Then join us for a moonlight hike to see what we find and get a chance to “communicate” with our wolves. This night will leave you howling with excitement!
The program includes a presentation and special evening tour.
TIME: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
COST (per person): $10 Member,
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CURRENT ZOO HOURS :
9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily
Last admission one hour before closing.
The Toronto Zoo is open year round (except Dec. 25th).
CURRENT ADMISSION FEES :
General Admission (13-64): $23
Seniors (65+): $18
Children (3-12): $14
Children (2 and under): FREE
Prices include tax as applicable
Parking is $12 year round
For more information, contact Amanda Chambers at (416) 392-5974.
Events and admission prices subject to change without notice.
For general information visit torontozoo.com
The Toronto Zoo is Canada’s premier zoo and a national leader in saving wildlife to ensure the rich diversity of nature for future generations. More than a tourist attraction, the Toronto Zoo boasts a number of leading programs for helping wildlife and their natural habitats – from species reintroduction to reproductive research. A world-class educational centre for people of all ages, the Toronto Zoo is open every day except December 25 and attracts approximately 1.3 million visitors each year.
Toronto Zoo is accredited by Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The Zoo has also achieved the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) Certificate of Good Animal Practice® and is inspected by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).