Report the turtles you encounter
PHOTO BY LOUISE GAUTHIER
Turtle sightings, like this one that appeared in a Vaudreuil-Dorion back yard, are relatively common in our region and reporting their sightings to the Nature Conservancy of Canada will help the organization’s mission to educate the public and protect these reptiles.
As turtle egg-laying season approaches, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), a not-for-profit organization, is promoting the second season of carapace.ca, a website for reporting turtles.
In so doing, NCC hopes to make Quebecers aware of the fate of these reptiles, which venture near roads and trails... thereby putting themselves in significant danger.
This online tool, which is accessible to all, identifies the most dangerous roadways for the small animals.
“Last summer, 55 specimens were victims of this type of accident in Quebec, according to data reported on the platform. Fortunately – and this is good news – more than 90 per cent of the turtles surveyed were alive,” says Caroline Gagné, coordinator of the carapace.ca program.
When you spot a turtle, the procedure is simple: take a picture of it, note the location and fill out a short report form at carapace.ca.
The site thus collects data on turtle road deaths while identifying roads that present a high risk of collisions with vehicles. The platform also describes the steps to take to help a turtle in danger on a roadway.
Last year, 500 people reported a total of 856 turtles (nearly half of them in the Montérégie and Outaouais regions) of five different native species. In addition to this number, two exotic species were reported a few times, specimens of which have been released into the wild by their owners – a reprehensible act. Such species are harmful to species originating in Canada because they compete for food and habitat, among other things.
NCC not only protects turtles, but also safeguards their habitats, which include riverbanks, by acquiring land, building relationships with landowners and managing wetlands so that turtles can benefit from ideal conditions.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada’s leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres), coast to coast, including 45,000 hectares (111,197 acres) in Quebec.
Every day, NCC ensures that new territories are conserved, through the collaboration of individuals, landowners, businesses, conservation groups, local communities, and governments. It is by protecting and managing these natural environments that they can be made accessible to this generation and those to come.
To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.