2021 Update

OTCC’s New Location: A Place to Grow Into

Artists rendition of OTCC's new location
Where Community and Conservation Connect

Thanks to our generous donors, we have finished renovating two buildings at our new site. This was Phase 1 of our long-term plan and has added over 3,000 sq ft to house recovering turtles!

But, that is only the start of our BIG plans! Phase 2 involves building our own permanent facility on this same property. We plan to build a new 10,000 sq. ft. building that will house our new hospital – including ICU, hatchling area, and education centre!

We are over three-quarters of the way towards our goal

We need YOUR help to reach it!

Guided Tour with Dr. Sue Carstairs

We have the space…now we need your help:

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2019 Announcement

Dear OTCC supporters – we need you now more than ever!!

Today I’m going to approach you all with a dilemma we are facing – our resources are being overstretched.  This year has seen the number of admissions once again skyrocket – already we have had more admissions than all of 2018, and we’re still in the midst of  the busiest season

Over 1,000 turtles have already been admitted this year!

The increase in admissions is caused by an increased public awareness for our Ontario turtle’s plight;  with all 8 species being now listed as “At Risk” federally, we need to make sure that every possible turtle is saved and the public have stepped up and shown that they want to help.  We have been receiving hundreds of phone calls a day from concerned citizens– about injured turtles, nesting turtles, nest protection, and many stewardship initiatives.  We have received so many turtles that there is literally not an inch of floor space anywhere in the Centre.  We have taken on extra veterinary staff to try and keep up with the admission triage; we have also hired extra hotline help.  We have more Turtle Taxi volunteers, more first responders, more husbandry volunteers.

…But what we need now more than anything, is more space…

Above is just one of the ICU rooms; this additional 1,000 sq ft was made possible in 2018 by a generous bequest by Gail Grace Christie, and has made a huge difference.  But we are still in need of a lot more room. Below left; Dr. Sue Carstairs performs surgery while surrounded by waiting cases; Below middle; our hotline staff is blocked into their desk by turtles waiting to be admitted; Below right, another ICU room being checked by veterinary staff.

We have a long term solution, but we need your help to implement it!

With heartfelt thanks to a wonderful family, OTCC has been offered land near the existing Centre, to increase our capacity.  Mary and Gerry Young have offered their land and existing buildings, for OTCC to use and develop towards this goal. The buildings sit on their 100 acre farm, is only 5 minutes from OTCC, and provides an ideal location to expand and grow into. We are in the process of talking to the City Planners, and we are building our long term plan.  In the short term, there are buildings on this site that could function as a means to enable a greater capacity.

We need your help to get this project off the ground, so that we can ensure that we are able to provide each turtle that is saved, with the help that is needed, to get him/her back home.

Above Left; a painted turtle with a typical wound from being hit by a car.

Above Right; wound after surgical wiring.  The tape will now be removed, and the wires will be left in for 8-12 weeks.  He will then be released back to his wetland.

Did you know, that the number of turtles that OTCC releases annually, actually has a population impact on Ontario’s turtles?  This helps to slow the decline, so we have time to ‘fix’ the problem.  Unlike other wildlife species, turtle populations cannot tolerate any additional adult losses;  their slow development and very low egg and hatchling survival mean that they HAVE to live a very long time to even have a hope of replacing themselves in the population – this can take almost 60 years for a snapping turtle!

Turtle rehabilitation truly IS conservation – we can help to reverse some of the effects of road mortalities, which is second only to habitat loss as a cause for population declines.  Every adult is vital to their population, and every turtle we get home helps to ensure the survival of these species.

Please give generously, to allow us to start to renovate these buildings.

In addition, if there are skilled electricians, plumbers and contractors out there who would like to donate time to this cause, we would welcome their expertise!  We anticipate we will need extra well infrastructure, back-up generators, full plumbing construction, electrical retrofitting, and full climate control in the manner of a furnace and air conditioning.

It is a big job, but I know we can do this with your help – our supporters are the best!!

With sincere thanks for your ongoing support,

Dr. Sue Carstairs

Executive and Medical Director,

Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre

“Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre” is the operating name of the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre; Charity Number  857524409