Government of Canada invests $150,000 to help endangered turtles in Toronto’s Rouge National Urban Park
© Parks Canada Meaghan Ruston
On February 9, 2016, the Government of Canada announced a significant investment to help recover a rare turtle species in Rouge National Urban Park in the Greater Toronto Area.
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced that the Government of Canada, through Parks Canada, will contribute $150,000 over two years (2016 and 2017) to help support the continued recovery of threatened Blanding’s turtles in Canada’s first national urban park.
This financial contribution is part of an ongoing collaboration between Parks Canada and the Toronto Zoo to help re-establish a healthy local population of this nationally and provincially threatened species in Rouge National Urban Park.
Blanding’s turtle eggs, collected from stable source populations outside the park, are hatched and raised at the Toronto Zoo’s Wildlife Health Centre, then released in various wetland habitats throughout the park. Funds committed today will help with turtle captive rearing, reintroduction, habitat restoration and ecological monitoring.
In addition to species at risk recovery, Parks Canada is committed to conserving and restoring Rouge National Urban Park's natural, cultural and agricultural heritage, while also providing unique educational opportunities, visitor experiences and community-driven stewardship initiatives throughout the park.
- Parks Canada and the Toronto Zoo successfully released 10 baby Blanding’s turtles in the Rouge in June 2014 and another 21 were released in June 2015, with more releases planned for the coming years.
- Although historically found in relatively high numbers in the Rouge, by 2014 only six Blanding’s turtles remained in the Rouge.
- The Rouge is a hotspot for biodiversity – approximately 1,700 species of plants, birds, fish, mammals, insects, reptiles, amphibians and other species have been observed in the Rouge.
- At 79.1 km2, Rouge National Urban Park will be 19 times larger than Stanley Park in Vancouver, 23 times larger than Central Park in New York, and close to 50 times larger than Toronto’s High Park.