By fragmenting the western end of Cootes Paradise with a four lane highway (Cootes Drive 1936) and McMaster parking (1969), car drivers gain at the expense of intact habitat for a multitude of species. Road kill on Cootes accounts for a severe threat to the survival of at risk species, and perhaps none so glaringly as the slow moving turtles who inhabit the remnant marsh.
A local volunteer group has, for the last few years, formed to assist the turtles and increase awareness, and (hopefully) survival rates.
|Turtle, south of Cootes Drive near Spencer Creek. Photo r.k.|
Please consider giving some of your time to the turtles of Cootes Paradise.
Turtles will begin to move from their wintering sites in late May and their peak nesting period is mid-June. Dundas Turtle Watch identifies, monitors and rescues turtles at risk from traffic, and protects nests from predation wherever possible.
The group is looking for people with a digital camera who are prepared to volunteer regularly, for approximately 2 hours week, plus some record keeping. The work will begin in late May, with a summer break usually in July and part of August. Then the monitoring starts again as the eggs begin to hatch and continues through September.
The once common Snapping Turtle is listed on Federal lists as a 'species of special concern'. The Blandings Turtle is endangered and there may be as few as s single breeding pair left in Cootes Paradise. Female turtles of these species take approximately 16 years to reach breeding maturity, so the protection of females of breeding age is essential to their survival.
The Dundas Turtle Watch project is organized in close cooperation with the Royal Botanical Gardens, whose qualified staff will provide an orientation session.
All the information gathered is relayed to the RBG and the data will be used for educational and research purposes.
For further information please contact:
Joanna: (905) 627-8917 (after 6pm)
or Pete: (905) 522-0587