This year has been an exciting time for the staff and volunteers at KTTC having had the opportunity get into the field and track some of our very own turtles. Though this year’s sample size of 10 turtles was small, they were able to provide us with critical information regarding their habitat preferences, behaviours and survivorship. This data will go towards helping future turtles and aid in the survival of their species.
This year’s group of juvenile Blanding’s turtles took Dr. Carstairs, myself and a crew of volunteers on some challenging treks through dense forest, wetlands and bogs. With chest waders on and a borrowed canoe, we tracked them over land and through muddy water, with a couple of brave turtles leading us as far as a kilometer away!
Those that have made it through the season have now settled into their overwintering sites where they will hibernate until spring. At this point we will be leaving them to settle in. On our last outing in late November we were forced to turn back because of the layer of ice on the water. Once the ice thickens, we will once again head out for a final check until next spring.
As we wrap up our first year of tracking, I want to take the time to give a big thank you to all of the wonderful and outgoing volunteers that helped make this possible. It can be hard work lugging equipment, canoeing and tracking down these elusive turtles, but it was an amazing experience! Special thanks to Shane Sauve, Lindsay Maxim, Dr. Erica Lutman, Tiffany Hunter, Sarah D’Amario, Jimmy Cooper, Heather Reid, Nora Livingstone, Mandy St. Germaine and Olivia Vandersanden.
Thanks a bunch everyone!!!
Next years study will bring a larger release group of headstarted juvenile Blanding’s turtles from KTTC, as well as a group of wild caught Blanding’s that we will also be tracking. This will allow for a comparison study of the wild caught to those of our headstarting program.
I already miss going out to see how our Blanding’s are doing and I can’t wait for next year!
Below are a few highlights from our first season.