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Feds protect snapping turtles; Ontario proposes increased turtle hunting in park

  • Published on Dec 02 2008 |
  • This article is tagged as: ontario

Toronto -- CPAWS Wildlands League welcomes steps taken by the federal government to protect troubled snapping turtle populations in Canada.  They were recently added to the nation’s Species at Risk list, as one of “special concern”. The federal government highlights that the species may become threatened or endangered if measures aren’t taken to stop their decline. This listing brings the total number of at-risk freshwater turtles in Canada to 10.

This federal announcement also raises more questions for CPAWS Wildlands about a new Ontario government proposal to hunt snapping turtles and other species in a provincial park.  The proposal for more hunting in the Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park, north of Peterborough, will include snapping turtles and other species, and increase the duration of the hunting season.  

“It’s a sad day when there’s a new addition to the Species at Risk list, but this designation can be the beginning of recovery for snapping turtles,” said Evan Ferrari, Director of Parks and Protected Areas at CPAWS Wildlands League.  “Clearly this bold action by the federal government shows just how out of touch Ontario is when it comes to the science of species conservation.  Hunting is already permitted in over 90% of Ontario and the province is proposing to hunt a federal species at risk – in a park,” he continued.

Snapping turtles are characterized by a ‘low reproductive rate’ meaning that few of their young mature into adulthood. Coupled with pressures from hunting, poaching, road kill and persecution, the turtles could be headed for trouble. “A biologically diverse ecosystem with healthy species - like snapping turtles – means a healthy environment for all of us. Our society must do more to prevent species from becoming extinct.”said Ferrari.

“The proposal for more hunting and a longer hunting season in the Kawartha Highlands upsets the balance that was negotiated for the park in 2003 between hunters and conservationists alike. This proposal for more hunting in Kawartha needs to be rejected and snapping turtles must be added to the provincial endangered species list by Premier McGuinty,” concluded Ferrari.

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For more information:
Evan Ferrari, Director, Parks and Protected Areas Program, CPAWS Wildlands League
Office – 416-971-9453 xt 43