This year the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre has gone a step further in helping the turtles of Ontario on the road to recovery.

In collaboration with the MNR, the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre has been fortunate enough to step out into the field. Over the next 3 years the KTTC will be conducting research in both population and behaviour studies. This research will provide us with invaluable data that will aid in future conservation strategies for Ontario at-risk turtles.

The overall aim of the project is to slow the decline and aid in the recovery of turtle populations through the use of multiple research methods. This study will be centered in one of Ontario’s many road mortality hot spots, where at-risk turtle species appear to be abundant.

One of this years main focuses started with the release of some of the KTTC’s very own short term residence. The KTTC began a head starting program back in 2010 with 10 Blanding’s turtle eggs. These eggs were hatched at the centre and overwintered for the past two years. This allowed the hatchlings to increase in size, which in turn would reduce a wider range of predators once released.

After the two years, radio transmitters were attached to their shells. These transmitters give us the ability to track their location once released and monitor their movements and behaviour in the wild. This research method will provide us with the information needed to evaluate head starting as a conservation strategy for the Blanding’s turtle.

Together, the data collected will be used for land management planning and to mitigate road mortality research efforts. It will also be coupled with public outreach and rehabilitation of road injured turtles to directly address current mortality.