Record Year! Spiny Softshell Turtles Hatching (media release, August 22, 2017)

August 22, 2017, London, ON – It has been a record year! The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) Species at Risk Reptile Team (aka “the Turtle Team”) is releasing more than 6,000 baby turtles back into the Thames River! The UTRCA has one of the longest running and most successful reptile research, recovery and education programs in Canada.

Kaela Orton, UTRCA Species at Risk Field Assistant, says, “This record breaking year shows the endangered Spiny Softshell Turtle is expanding in terms of numbers and range along the Thames River. We are so pleased that the past twenty years of recovery work is having such positive results!”

The Spiny Softshell Turtle is endangered both provincially and federally. Only a small number of hatchling turtles reach adulthood, so it’s critical for biologists to protect the eggs and release as many hatchlings as possible. Early studies along the Thames River revealed almost zero turtle egg survival, but recent research shows that protection efforts are having an impact locally. Since the UTRCA began protecting eggs in the 1990s, the local Spiny Softshell Turtle population has shown increases in the number of turtles of all age classes and their range along the Thames River.

Threats to the Spiny Softshell Turtle:
• Loss of habitat
• Collection for the pet and food trade
• Getting caught on fish hooks

The UTRCA welcomes financial help with the Spiny Softshell Recovery Project

See video of Spiny Softshell Turtle hatchlings being released 
Photos of 2017 Spiny Softshell Turtle hatchling

Contact: Steve Sauder, Marketing Specialist

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