Wildlife Road Watch 2023: Overview

What a year for turtles in the Long Point Walsingham Forest Priority Place!

As a result of our second annual Wildlife Road Watch program, our team of volunteers were able to help OVER 180 turtles cross roads safely during the month of June along our three major turtle crossing hotspots: Front Road at Turkey Point marsh, and Long Point’s Hastings Drive and Erie Boulevard.

With significant funding from Environment Canada and Climate Change, the Wildlife Road Watch crew as part of the Road Working Group didn’t stop at only helping turtles cross roads. We also:

  • Used nest covers to protect 14 turtle nests
  • Excavated and transported 51 at-risk nests for incubation
  • Had a 93% hatch rate (!) for our excavated nests at the London Watershed Conservation Centre thanks to the herpetologist Scott Gillingwater and his team, who also provided the training we needed to collect nests safely
  • Released 862 turtle hatchlings into the marsh where they belong, including:
    • 722 Snapping
    • 62 Blanding’s
    • 46 Northern Map
    • 32 Midland Painted

Roadways are a serious threat to our turtle species, whose hard shells are no match for our cars. But any problem caused by humans can be solved by humans, and our team of volunteers was made up of some of the best this year.

So, on behalf of the turtles who can’t say so themselves, THANK YOU to Bonnie Bravener, Cathy Nie, Karen Goni and her family, Cindy Tyrell, Roy and Sue Fish, John Everett, Sue Warren, Patti and John Moore, Rich Mercey, Lisa Kurapkat, Sheila and Dave Traplin, Yvonne Wood, Rhonda Kembley, Meagan and Mary Anne Moeyaert, and Chris Vickerson for some awesome hatchling photography (see above).

Big thanks also to Scott and Heather Pond of Long Point Eco Adventures for the construction of turtle fencing and nest mounds along their property, and some major turtle release hiking! Thanks also to Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge for taking in some of our eggs and injured turtles, and of course the LPWF Priority Place, and Scott Gillingwater. We could not have done it without all of you.

See a short video compilation of our hatchlings released here.

And we have another short video of snapping turtles nesting at the Eco Adventures fence here.

Watch our summary presentation on our WRW program at the 11th Research and Conservation Conference on Youtube. See 5:48:00.

Kari Gunson
Kari Gunson

Kari Gunson, a practitioner in road ecology since 1999, initiated the 'Wildlife on Roads' program recently in response to a need to inspire and harness grassroots efforts for implementation of mitigation solutions.

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