Need to Know

Dundas Turtle Watch is a group of community volunteers that was founded and led by Joanna Chapman.

Since 2009, this independent group has been growing and now comprises about 40 volunteers.  Each morning and evening during the turtle nesting season, we monitor the roads running through a wetland area at the west end of Dundas. We keep records of every turtle seen, alive or dead.  We also record sightings of frogs, toads, birds, snakes, and any other wildlife observed.

In addition to monitoring, we rescue turtles that are in danger of being killed by traffic.  If a turtle has been struck by a vehicle, we will ensure it receives appropriate veterinary care.  If the turtle cannot be saved, its eggs will be salvaged and cared for by professionals until hatching three months later.  If you see a turtle in need of rescue, we would really appreciate if you could help us out.

All data collected is forwarded to the Royal Botanical Gardens, and, as of 2014, to Ontario Nature as well.  In the near future, we would like to take on the additional task of protecting turtle nests on private land, when requested by homeowners.

The goal of Dundas Turtle Watch is to see increased nesting habitat, fencing, lower speed limits, better signage and other turtle-friendly interventions.  At this point, you may be wondering WHY!?  As is the case for many animals, turtles have been surviving on this planet much longer than humans.  However, the key is that the lives of turtles are similar in length to humans.  It is not uncommon for turtles to live 50, 60, or over 70 years in the wild!  The problems are survival and population.  Female turtles cannot lay eggs until they 18-20 years of age.  Even though large clutches of eggs are laid, human activity, predators, and the weather all have major impacts on the survival of the hatchlings.  The following images illustrate the carnage of when vehicles contact even the largest turtles.

Roadkill-Adult Snapper Jun 12'13 CS VM A - 2

Courtesy of Catherine Shimmell

Courtesy of Aaron Burton

Courtesy of Aaron Burton

For more information about turtles and their conservation, check out our Turtle News.

All of the photos/videos on this website were taken by Catherine Shimmell, JoAnne Haynes, Kris Robinson, Peter Hurrell, Caroline Thomson and other Dundas Turtle Watch Volunteers.