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Turtle Added To Endangered Species List

Blackburn News,
Miranda Chant,
June 6 2016

A turtle which can be found in the Thames River is now considered to be in danger of extinction.

The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) says the Spiny Softshell Turtle has been added to the endangered species list in Canada.

The designation comes as the turtle deals with the loss of nesting habitat. Development, dams, floods, river bank erosion, invasive plants, recreational use, and the illegal harvest of turtles is behind the destruction of habitat.

The UTRCA says with protection of nests vanishing, few eggs are able to survive attacks by mammals.

“We continue to work hard to protect and recover this species, and since our recovery efforts have resulted in proven success in Canada, we can share this model for other sites where this turtle has active populations,” says Scott Gillingwater, species at risk biologist with the UTRCA. “As populations continue to decline in most areas, the Thames River has become a stronghold for this species in Canada, due in large part to over 20 years of recovery actions.”

The Spiny Softshell Turtle had been on the threatened species list since April 1991.

Gillingwater has spent years researching and working to create and protect the turtle’s habitat in the Thames River. His committment to the now endangered turtle landed him the W.W.H. Gunn Conservation Award from Ontario Nature on Saturday.

The award goes to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding personal service and a strong commitment to nature conservation over many years with exceptional results.