Ontario took a large step forward in conservation this week by banning the hunting of snapping turtles. Snapping turtles are considered to be a species of “special concern” which means while they are not on the endangered or threatened list, yet there are a series of factors which are leading them towards those lists. Such as habitat destruction, car mortality and the harvest (of up to two a day) . The main issue being because snapping turtles take so long to mature, with females laying their first clutch around the age of 17-20, even a small amount of adult deaths can have a big impact o the species.
But Matt why are you talking about snapping turtles? Well those of you who know me know that I have a special place in my heart for any and all turtles. As a family we’ve easily helped 100’s of turtles cross roads and highways across Ontario. Our truck is emblazoned with “I brake for turtles” magnets and I’ve always had a interest in photographing turtles of all species. I travel to a variety of areas in Ontario during the spring to photograph and record turtle species laying their eggs.
If there is one thing any canoeist should pass down to his/her children it’s a sense of conservation. When you teach your child to “leave no trace” you’re teaching them to respect their surroundings. While keeping a clean campsite is good , go one step further and teach them about the many amazing animals who share the backcountry with us. Lucky for us those surroundings in the backcountry will still have the common snapping turtle. Slowly plodding along the bottom of the lake, or laying eggs on one of the sandy beaches we paddle up to, or as most often seen slowly crossing the road. Speaking of crossing the road if you do plan on helping a turtle cross please remember the following
-Check to make sure it’s safe to stop. It’s all well and great to help a turtle but only if you’re not causing danger to others
-Note which way the turtle is crossing. Help them cross the same way they are pointed. If you bring them back the opposite way they may just cross again.
-Don’t want to touch the turtle? Easy take an example from my wife and carry a small plastic shovel. She scoops them up and places them on the other side.
Hope everyone has a great week!