Second Wave of Endangered Blanding’s Turtles to be Released at Royal Botanical Gardens

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Second Wave of Endangered Blanding’s Turtles to be Released at Royal Botanical Gardens

— Seven turtles from Carmen’s nest and eight from Senecas —


Thursday August 17, Hamilton ON – Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) will be releasing 15 head-started Blanding’s Turtles (who have been living at the Scales Nature Park for the past two year) into their wetlands, marking the second wave of releases this year. This initiative, organized by RBG’s Species-at-Risk (SAR) team, plays a crucial role in the conservation and recovery of this endangered species.


Event Details:

Location:         Princess Point Parking lot, Royal Botanical Gardens

                        335 longwood Rd Hamilton

Date:               Thursday, August 17th

Time:               1:00pm

What:              Media are welcome to witness the release of 15 turtles including: Ishkode, Nibi, Moriarty to name a few.


After the successful release of the first set of seven juvenile Blanding’s Turtles earlier this year, RBG is ready to release the remaining 15 turtles, with eight from Seneca’s nest and seven from Carmen’s nest. These turtles will join their counterparts to contribute to the recovery of the Blanding’s Turtle population in the area.


RBG SAR team is just one part of a collaborative effort towards creating healthier habitats for Blanding’s Turtles and other endangered species at RBG. The Natural Lands department’s Aquatic, Terrestrial, and Biotech teams, along with dedicated RBG volunteers/staff, work together with partner organizations including Conservation Halton, Dundas Turtle Watch, Hamilton Conservation Authority, and Scales Nature Park.


“Our team is grateful for financial support from RBG donors including Catherine Shimmell and the K.M Hunter Charitable Foundation who’ve enabled us to dramatically increase the chances of survival for these turtles,” said Tys Theysmeyer, Sr Director of Ecosystem Stewardship at RBG. RBG’s turtle recovery work was additionally supported by a federal government grant under the Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP). “We’ve worked hard to restore viable habitat areas in the marsh, but we rely on continued efforts from the community to continue to restore inflowing water quality, as well as mitigate turtle road mortality with wildlife barriers and underpasses for the roads around the perimeter of Cootes Paradise.”


About RBG Blanding Turtles:

Seneca is the only known adult female Blanding’s Turtle in the Cootes Paradise area, leading to insufficient recruitment of new individuals to the population. Therefore, the retrieval and tracking of nesting Blanding’s Turtles become increasingly important to ensure the survival and balanced sex ratio of the population.


The sex of turtles remains unknown until they mature at approximately 17 to 20 years old. Retrieving Blanding’s Turtle eggs offers protection and a chance to manipulate temperature for a balanced sex ratio. Temperature determines hatchlings’ sex, aiding population growth and genetic diversity.


To aid in future identification, Toronto Zoo biologists have implanted pit-tags in these juveniles and provided visual notches for differentiation between individuals. Additionally, the turtles have been equipped with radio transmitters to monitor their movements and survival rates. These measures will assist in understanding the challenges facing native turtles, such as shrinking habitat, road mortality, inflated predator numbers, invasive species, poaching, pollution, persecution, and climate change.


About Royal Botanical Gardens

Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is the largest botanical garden in Canada, a National Historic Site, and registered charitable organization with a mandate to bring together people, plants, and nature. A leading conservation organization, RBG is dedicated to preserving the natural world and promoting environmental protection and sustainability with nature sanctuaries covering 2,400 acres across both Burlington and Hamilton, Ontario.  RBG operates four distinct gardens and extensive outdoor natural areas, including the popular Cootes Paradise Nature Sanctuary and the Hendrie Park gardens.



For more information about Royal Botanical Gardens, please visit their website.




For more information contact: Tory Crowder Jumpstart Communications, [email protected] 416-998-9702


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