Adopt-A-Turtle Campaign Launched to Help Save New Turtle Sanctuary
21 May 2020
Nova Scotia’s endangered Blanding’s turtles could soon have a new safe haven in southwest Nova Scotia. Turtle lovers can help these endangered critters, and share their passion for nature with isolated friends and family, through our Adopt-a-Turtle campaign. Funds raised will help save 40 acres of critical habitat for endangered Blanding’s turtles. By making the adoption in someone’s name, you can show friends or family you are thinking of them, even if you can’t visit right now.
We invite you, our friends and supporters, to celebrate World Turtle Day (May 23) by helping save turtles right here at home. The Adopt-a-Turtle campaign provides a unique opportunity to take action for nature.
Like the endangered Blanding’s turtles, we are all slowly emerging from “hibernation.” Because most of us are still largely isolated from friends and family, we’ve come up with a unique idea for re-connecting.
Adopting an endangered turtle is a great way to reach out and show you care—about nature and about your friends and family too. You can adopt a turtle in someone’s honour and they’ll receive a beautiful turtle adoption package.
Adopting a turtle can be a great family activity too as children learn about nature, compassion and helping others. Adopting a turtle for a grandparent, teacher or other community hero can show special people you’re thinking of them and taking action in their honour to save our precious natural treasures for generations to come.
Funds raised will help to protect important natural areas, including a potential new sanctuary for endangered turtles in Queen’s County. We hope the campaign will bring in the final $20,000 needed to save this property by June 22.
Blanding’s turtles are easy to spot with their dark, high domed shell, bright yellow chin and neck, and great big smile. But things aren’t actually cheery for these turtles—they are a turtle in trouble. They are an endangered species, at risk of extinction in Nova Scotia and across Canada.
Habitat loss and fragmentation are the biggest threats to Blanding’s turtles. The same lakes, rivers and wetlands these turtles call home are increasingly popular for cottages and recreation. Since they travel big distances—they can travel over 6 kilometres to reach their nesting sites—and are slow crossing the road, cars are another major threat.
Blanding’s turtles are especially at risk because their populations don’t recover well from loss. Like humans, they are a long-lived species, living up to 80 or more years. And also like us, they are slow to reach maturity, not reproducing until their late teens or early twenties. Losing just a few adults can cause a population to decline significantly and re-building that population takes a very long time.
With only 1% of hatchlings surviving, a slow reproduction cycle, significant habitat loss and growing threats from cars, these turtles need our help.
Protecting habitat eliminates these threats and gives turtles a fighting chance for survival. Protecting large, interconnected corridors of habitat is particularly important.
We have just such an opportunity. We are set to acquire a highly significant turtle site near Pleasant River (between Kejimkujik and Bridgewater) by June 22. The area is known to support the highest concentration of the Blanding’s turtles in Nova Scotia, including a high proportion of young turtles, making it particularly important to conserve.
The new 40 acre site will add to three nearby properties already protected by the Nature Trust, and surrounding Crown lands awaiting designation as a provincial Wilderness Area. Its protection will help piece together almost 3000 acres of land trust and government protected rivers, lakes, wetlands and forests. This vast, interconnected habitat is critical so the turtles can find all the habitats they need to survive, and move safely between their feeding, nesting and overwintering sites.
With so few Blanding’s turtles left in Nova Scotia, and increasing threats, their fate is truly in our hands. By adopting a turtle, and saving a new Blanding’s turtle sanctuary, you can make a real and lasting difference for nature.
As Blanding’s turtles and other Nova Scotians emerge from hibernation, what better celebration gift than a gift of nature?