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Emergency care for turtles struck by vehicles

SnappingTurtleLocal veterinarians are learning this week how to provide emergency care to turtles struck by vehicles.

Of Ontario’s eight turtle species, seven are currently classified as “at risk,” and roadways continue to pose a major threat to the delicate populations.

“I’m a conservationist at heart, and I find it upsetting to watch turtles being hit in the road. I didn’t realize there’s a lot you can do to help these turtles once they’ve been hit because they’re quite resilient,” said Dr. Scromeda. “It makes you sort of feel like you’re helpless when they’re hit by a car, but the fact is we can do something to help them.”

This year, Dr. Naomi Scromeda and Dr. Linda Hack, of Bay Regional Veterinary Hospital in Belleville, are volunteering to provide emergency care to turtles struck by vehicles.

Dr. Scromeda and her team will be attending a training session at the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre (KTTC) in Peterborough this week to learn emergency treatment techniques for turtles, including shell repair.

Following the session, Bay Regional Veterinary Hospital will serve as a drop-off site for injured turtles that cannot be taken to the KTTC because of distance or availability of transport.

The turtles will then be stabilized at the clinic, including temporary shell repair if necessary, before being transferred to the experts at KTTC for anesthesia and surgery.

While other species of wildlife are also injured and killed on roads, most animals have young from the previous year ready to mate and replenish the population. This is not the case for turtles.

Less than one per cent of turtle eggs and hatchlings will survive to adulthood. This, combined with the fact that turtles can take anywhere from 8 to 25 years to reach maturity, means that it can take 200 eggs and up to 25 years to replace one nesting female killed on the roadside. Every turtle saved is beneficial to the population, according to KTTC, which means the death each adult turtle causes a significant impact on the population.

The Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre
KTTC is a registered charity that endeavors to protect and conserve Ontario’s native turtles and the habitat in which they live. The organization conducts research, does outreach and operates a turtle hospital that treats, rehabilitates and releases injured turtles.

Anyone who finds an injured native turtle anywhere in Ontario can contact KTTC at 705-741-5000 to be directed to the nearest first response centre.

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  1. R.Richman says:

    Holland Germany and the list goes on have had wind mills for centurys. They seem to have faired out. I feel man kind has done and still are doing worse things than wind mills to the enviroment.

  2. Emily says:

    You obviously have no idea the destruction to the environment that will occur with the installation of wind factories. There is no comparison with ATV’s even though they don’t help.

  3. R.Richman says:

    OMG people give it a rest. ATVs will cause more harm to turtles that wind mills yet you all let them run amuck along the south shore with out saying a thing. Think about it.

  4. Wolf Braun says:

    Next Wednesday TVO will have a 1hr special on wind farms and how rural Ontario feels about them…..9pm. Check the details online at TVO.rg

  5. Borys Holowacz says:

    Would be nice if the MNR and MOE and the Premier’s office read this article and learned something.

    Truth is they already know wind turbine development at Ostrander Point will cause harm to turtles and other animals.

    But why should they care anyways. After all, the government and its ministries do not care if wind turbines will harm humans.

    So why should they care about stupid animals.

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