The spiny softshell turtle has been listed as an endangered species in Canada.
The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority said the reason for the change is because of the loss of nesting habitat in Ontario and Quebec.
The nesting sites of the spiny softshell turtle have been lost through dams, floods, invasive plants, recreational use, and illegal harvest.
Steve Sauder with the Conservation Authority tells AM980 that local efforts to help hatchlings is now being looked at as a model for success.
“Actually taking turtle eggs from the nests in the early stages, incubating them, and then making sure they get back into the river in the same location has been critical for their population improvements here in the London area. This is the only place in Canada where the population is actually growing,” Sauder says.
“Last year we had a record year where we were actually able to release 4000 young hatchlings back into the river.”
The Conservation Authority says without nest protections, only few eggs survive predation by an increased abundance of mammals.
Sauder adds that education is the key to turning this around.
“The turtle is just one aspect of our healthy watershed. It’s an indicator, but we’re not just interested in the turtle – we’re interested in a healthy watershed for all living things, whether they’re people or animals.”
More information can be found on the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority website.
With files from Rana Aladdin.