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, as well as sightings of frogs, toads, birds, snakes, and any other wildlife observed. 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.
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, we will ensure its eggs will be salvaged and cared for by professionals. If you see a turtle in need of rescue, we would really appreciate it if you would help us out.
The goal of Dundas Turtle Watch is to see increased nesting habitat, fencing, lower speed limits, better signage and other turtle-friendly interventions. In the near future, we would like to take on the additional task of protecting turtle nests on private land, when requested by homeowners.
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.
“Take a walk with a turtle. And behold the world in pause.”