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Sep 19 2012

Blanding’s turtles, nearing extinction, find help in NS zoo

Our local zoo, Oaklawn Farm, has reportedly taken on and hatched some hundred Blanding’s turtle eggs, a breed of Nova Scotia turtle that’s on the endangered species list. Oaklawn Farm Zoo is the former home to the largest African lion in captivity in North America, Rutledge, who died of old age recently.

Blanding turtle hatchlings in a tank

In June, more than 100 Blanding’s turtle eggs were moved from Kejimkujik National Park — in the southern half of the province — to the Oaklawn Farm Zoo in Aylesford.

They’ve since hatched and the tiny turtles are quickly getting stronger and bigger on a steady diet of trout pellets and mealworms.

“There is a very high predation rate and it’s estimated that only about one per cent of these hatchlings survive naturally,” said Duncan Smith, a biologist with Parks Canada.

“That’s why we’re seeing if we can bolster that with this incubation and headstarting program.”

Blanding’s turtles are medium-sized freshwater turtles. Adults have dark-green, high-domed shells with yellow flecks and are easily identified by their distinctive yellow throats and undersides.

The Nova Scotia population of the Blanding’s turtle is listed as threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, while the provincial Endangered Species Act lists them as endangered.

The original story at CBC has some absolutely adorable video of the hatchlings.

It is good that the Zoo is taking on these new challenges, with how clean and safe and expansive the habitats are (in my estimation) for their charges. Every time I’ve visited, I’ve gotten the sense that the animals are taken care of very well, with plenty of roaming room and appropriate habitats for each species. It warms my heart that the endangered turtle species is being given a second chance by these great folks. If it weren’t nearing the end of the zoo season, I’d take a run down just to see them.

That reminds me, I have yet to post my recent visit to the Halifax Natural History Museum and the pics I took of Gus and some other turtles. Now that I’ve remembered once, I’ll surely forget again. Remind me again sometime, will you?

5 comments

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  1. 1
    feralboy12

    Don’t forget to post pics of your visit to the Halifax Natural History Museum.

  2. 2
    Jason Thibeault

    Dammit. Now I’ll NEVER remember.

  3. 3
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    They are very pretty and have a reputation for being shy.

  4. 4
    Shawn Wilson

    I’ve never been to Oaklawn Farm, though my wife and son have somehow made it without me 2 or 3 times. I need to see me a zonkey, dammit.

  5. 5
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Actually, I had one that had been injured by a car. The back legs didn’t work. I had no idea that it was illegal to keep them or I would have turned it over to a breeding program or something.

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