Endangered Baby Blanding’s Turtles released in Rouge National Urban Park



The Toronto Zoo and Parks Canada are doing their part to save an endangered species by releasing 36 baby Blanding’s turtles on Tuesday in a wetland that will soon be part of Rouge National Urban Park.

Releasing Baby Blanding’s Turtles

Parks Canada released 36 baby Blanding’s Turtles at Rouge Park 0:16

The Blanding’s Turtle is often referred to as the “Smiling Turtle” because the yellow markings around its neck and mouth make it smile. It is found throughout most of the Great Lakes region and upstate New York. There are isolated populations in New England and Nova Scotia.

This is the third year that the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has worked with the two agencies to release baby turtles.

Blanding’s Turtles are a provincially and nationally threatened species. (Parks Canada / Heike Reuse)

Last year, 21 baby midges were released into the park and 10 were released in June 2014.

“Blanding’s turtles are a flagship species representing a group of animals facing various threats,” said Dr. Andrew Lentini, curator of reptiles and amphibians at the Toronto Zoo. “Seven of the eight species of turtles in Ontario are at risk and need our help.

Over the past three years, a total of 67 Baby Blanding’s Turtles have been released into the park. (Joren Romaniuk)

“Turtle eggs were collected from a stable source population in southern Ontario in 2014 and have been reared in a controlled environment at the Toronto Zoo for the past two years,” a statement released by the Toronto Zoo said. Toronto Zoo.

Monitoring the turtles and restoring their habitat is vital for the species’ survival in the region, experts say. (Parks Canada / Heike Reuse)

The University of Toronto Scarborough is helping with long-term monitoring of turtles in the park. According to Parks Canada, the TRCA and the zoo, monitoring the turtles and restoring their habitat is essential to the survival of the species.

The zoo and TRCA began monitoring Blanding’s Turtles in the Rouge Valley in 2005.

The new turtle habitat will be part of Rouge National Urban Park, soon to be Canada’s first national urban park. (Parks Canada / Heike Reuse)



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