Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre

Ontario, Canada

Turtle Hospital | Rehabilitation | Education | Fieldwork & Research | Hotline | Volunteer

Turtle Hospital 

The OTCC is a registered charity, operating a hospital for Ontario’s native turtle species. This is the only wild turtle hospital that is accredited by the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO) and one of the few accredited wildlife hospitals. OTCC has 2 full time veterinarians on site, and 4 additional seasonal veterinarians during the spring, and summer months. It is the only wildlife rehabilitation centre In Canada dedicated exclusively to freshwater turtles.  Injured or ill turtles are admitted from all over Ontario, via a network of OTCC’s-dedicated First Responder veterinarians across the province, along with almost 1,000 Turtle Taxi Volunteers. Approximately 1,500 injured or ill turtles, are admitted annually.  Once healed, these turtles are released back to their home wetland.


Hatchling Program

Since half of the turtles admitted are females, and a lot of these are gravid (carrying eggs), the eggs are saved, incubated, and hatched at the Centre. Approximately 5,000 eggs are incubated annually, and hatchlings are released back to their mother’s wetland.



Education plays a large role in all programs at the OTCC.  The hospital acts as a teaching and referral hospital for other veterinarians, veterinary students, veterinary technician students, and other wildlife rehabilitation centres. Specialized workshops are conducted, for veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and wildlife rehabilitators, covering all aspects of turtle trauma. These have taken place at the OTCC and across the province, and have helped many rehabilitation centres, private veterinary clinics, shelters, and veterinary emergency clinics to start treating turtles or advance their skills.

The OTCC’s general education program, targets all audiences and tailors their presentations for each group, whether they be kindergarten children, University students, veterinary students or a cottager’s group. OTCC’s education program continues to grow, fostering awareness and direct conservation action to protect our at-risk turtle populations and their wetland habitats. To date, 100% of participants in our programs have indicated that they were inspired to take conservation action.

OTCC offers in-person private tours, virtual tours, and birthday parties. If you’re interested in booking an education event, please contact our Education Coordinator at education@ontarioturtle.ca.


Fieldwork Program 

OTCC’s field work program has been ongoing since 2012, with the goal to aid in the bigger picture of conservation and to fill knowledge gaps that will aid turtle conservation programs and projects all over the world. Currently, they are conducting a long-term post-release study on head-started juvenile Blanding’s turtles, radiotracking these turtles weekly, alongside a population of wild juvenile Blanding’s turtles, to determine the effectiveness of head-starting as a conservation tool for freshwater turtles. So far, this has shown that these turtles are adding to the subadult population, and the juveniles are comparable to the wild-hatched turtles, in movement, behaviour and survival. While at the field site, they also conduct population surveys of other turtle species found in the area and not previously studied.


Data Compilation and Publications

Data collected from the hospital, hatchling, and field programs, are analyzed, and published in peer reviewed journals. OTCC has authored papers on Ranavirus epidemiology in Ontario’s wild turtles, sex ratios of turtles injured on roads, aural abscesses in Ontario’s painted turtles, as well as the results of their post-release studies.  In addition, they have co-authored many other papers.  


Volunteering Program 

OTCC has a robust and dedicated group of volunteers who help to increase the scope of OTCC’s staff. Volunteer positions include animal husbandry volunteers that help to care for the turtles at the hospital year-round, as well as education volunteers assisting our education coordinator. The Turtle Taxi volunteer program enables turtles to be admitted from across the province. Volunteer veterinarians aid in First Response, at 40 locations throughout Southern Ontario. If you’re interested in volunteering at the OTCC please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at  volunteer@ontarioturtle.ca.

Organization Type
Registered Charity - #857524409RR0001
Email: info@ontarioturtle.ca
Phone: 705-741-5000
Peterborough, ON
Region: east
Accepts Volunteers?