Population booms for endangered spiny softshell turtles

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More than 6,000 baby turtles will be making their way back into the Thames River Wednesday morning.

The Upper Thames Region Conservation Authority said the spiny softshell turtles have had a record year in terms of numbers and range in the Thames River area. The species was originally placed on the province’s species-at-risk list as threatened in 2008, and were named endangered last year.

Being a threatened species means it’s at risk of becoming endangered in the future. Being endangered means it is at risk of extinction throughout its normal geographic range.

The Upper Thames Region Conservation Authority has noted that spiny softshell turtle nesting sites have been disrupted and lost through development, dams, erosion of river banks, invasive plants, recreational use along river banks, and the illegal harvest of turtles.

The conservation authority began protecting turtle eggs in the 1990s and said this year proves that the past 20 years of recovery work is having positive results.

On Wednesday at 11 a.m., the hatchlings will be released at the conservation authority’s Watershed Conservation Centre.

With files from Free Press reporter Randy Richmond

shmehta@postmedia.com


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