Prior to 2014, as few as seven Blanding’s turtles remained in Rouge National Urban Park (RNUP). To supplement this population, Parks Canada and partners began a long-term Blanding’s turtle reintroduction project. Turtles that are part of this program are raised in captivity and released into the park at two years of age. This minimizes threats such as nest destruction and predation. Together, along with several other partners, over 500 baby Blanding’s turtles have been released into RNUP, and that number continues to increase. In 2020, Parks Canada started its own turtle nest collection program focusing on other species such as Snapping Turtles and Midland Painted Turtles with the help of Turtle Nest Monitoring Volunteers. Nests from these species are collected, incubated, and released as hatchlings back into the park.
Conservation efforts include:
- Habitat restoration (including creation and rehabilitation of wetlands, streams and riparian areas, creating artificial nesting mounds and monitoring sites)
- Turtle nest collection, incubation and hatchling release (with partners and Turtle Nest Monitoring Volunteers)
- Nest Protector Lending Program (available to nearby residents)
- Wildlife Emergency Response Team (WERT)- a Wildlife Triage team was created in 2021 to aid injured, orphaned and diseased wildlife in the park. The WERT team procures wildlife in need, provides temporary medical intervention and housing, and transfers the animals to authorized Wildlife Custodians in the area.