Land Trust encourages the public to watch for and avoid reptiles on roadways
(Port Rowan, Ontario.) Long Point Basin Land Trust (LPBLT) encourages the public to be watchful for reptiles on roadways during the late summer and fall seasons. In the last week, young turtles have started hatching out of their underground nests. These tiny creatures are very vulnerable to being hit by cars, trucks and off-road vehicles as they try to find their way to the water. Hatchling turtles are very small – about the size of a loonie or toonie – so the Land Trust encourages drivers to exercise caution to reduce the chance of striking them.
“Small turtles and snakes are very difficult to see,” said Gregor Beck, LPBLT’s conservation science director. “So, we ask drivers to slow down and be very watchful to avoid running them over. This is particularly important close to natural areas, including wetlands, woodlands and parks, where reptile numbers may be higher. Six of our region’s seven turtles and half of the snake species are listed “at risk” so reducing mortality is really important.”
In recent years, Long Point Basin Land Trust has been leading its “Conserving Carolinian Reptiles” project. The project includes working with landowners to identify ways to help reptiles and species at risk; creating and monitoring reptile habitats (e.g. turtle nesting areas and snake over-wintering habitats); and, a public reptile reporting program which helps identify conservation strategies. Dozens of landowners have participated and175 people have reported over 1,500 reptile observations over the last three years. These efforts have helped to identify priority conservation actions, such as installation of reptile barriers inside Long Point Provincial Park.
“Late summer and fall are really important for reptiles,” added Beck. “Young animals are hatching, looking for suitable habitat and learning how to catch food. As so-called “cold-blooded” animals, reptiles need to acquire heat from the environment. Roadways may seem like a good spot to warm up, but this puts them right into harm’s way.”
LPBLT encourages the public to report all sightings of turtles and snakes from Norfolk, Haldimand and Elgin Counties and surrounding areas to its website to help inform local conservation efforts: www.longpointlandtrust.ca. The website has information on how to identify turtles and snakes, as well as newsletters and factsheets with information about reptile conservation issues and ways for the public to help.
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For further information, please contact: Gregor Beck: Phone 519-718-2910; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Long Point Basin Land Trust: P.O. Box 468, Port Rowan, ON N0E 1M0; visit: www.longpointlandtrust.ca
Long Point Basin Land Trust is a charitable non-government organization which protects and restores important natural habitats in the Carolinian Region. It promotes conservation through outreach, research, habitat restoration and species at risk recovery. The Trust owns three nature reserves and works with landowners and conservation groups to steward natural areas.
The Conserving Carolinian Reptiles project is supported by the Fred Eaglesmith Annual Charity Picnic, the Government of Canada provided through the Department of the Environment, HIVA Environmental Fund, John & Pat McCutcheon Charitable Foundation, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources’ Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, individuals and conservation partners.