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Species at Risk

Stinkpot Turtle

Sternotherus odoratus

Why protect the Stinkpot turtle?

Ecosystem health can be closely linked to human health. Natural shoreline vegetation helps to minimize the amount ecoli bacteria entering the water from septic systems, which often results in the closure of local beaches in the summer.

Natural shorelines not only provide habitat for stinkpot turtles, but help to minimize the amount of nutrients that enter the water, which in turn can be detrimental to fish.

When preserving wetland habitat for stinkpot turtles you will also be providing healthy drinking water to your community. Wetlands act as groundwater recharge areas, filtering out contaminants that degrade the quality of drinking water.

Stinkpot turtles are part of our natural heritage. They are an important species that helps to maintain the balance of fragile ecosystems. It is our responsibility to ensure that stinkpot turtles are protected so that they can be enjoyed and appreciated by future generations

Close-up of the head of a stinkpot turtle.
Females stinkpots can lay up to one clutch of two to seven eggs per year.
© Parks Canada / SLINP Image Library

What is Parks Canada doing for the Stinkpot turtle?

St. Lawrence Islands National Park is working in collaboration with the University of Ottawa on stinkpot turtle research in the Thousand Islands Ecosystem. This research involves population monitoring, which determines the number of stinkpot turtles inhabiting areas, as well as a study of the turtle’s home range (what type of habitat it uses and how much habitat monitoring research is conducted by marking and recapturing individual turtles. Home range studies are done by tracking turtles using radio telemetry equipment. Antennae are attached to the back of the turtle’s shell, which allows researchers to locate stinkpot basking areas, areas where food supply is sufficient, hibernation sites, and nesting areas. The research helps to identify priority areas for stinkpot turtle conservation, and to assess the needs of a turtle at risk.

St. Lawrence Islands National Park is also working in association with Public Works and Government Services of Canada on a shoreline restoration project at the Mallorytown Landing Visitor Centre site along the St. Lawrence River. The traditional day use area is being converted to an environmental demonstration area, with a strong focus on shoreline restoration. Retaining walls that made up the shoreline in the past have been removed and replaced with shoreline vegetation. The site is a tool that demonstrates to regional residents and park visitors how a healthy shoreline can be beneficial to wildlife species such as stinkpot turtles and also promote a better quality of life in the region.

The Rideau Canal National Historic Site has commenced work on identifying where stinkpot turtle populations occur in their area. By having a better understanding on where they persist, staff can identify areas of focus for conservation efforts.