The Nature Conservancy of Canada begins year three of carapace.ca
Give turtles a brake. Help save them, one photo at a time
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is urging motorists to help threatened and vulnerable turtle populations in Quebec.
On the occasion of World Turtle Day, NCC is inviting the public to report any turtles they encounter on our roads. They can do so by using the carapace.ca website.
The website was launched in the Outaouais region in 2016 and throughout Quebec the following year. Data gathered from the website helps conservation groups and government agencies identify areas where turtle road fatalities are high, with the help of drivers who spot these reptiles.
Five turtle species found in the province are designated as threatened or vulnerable under the Government of Quebec’s Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species: wood turtle, map turtle, spiny softshell turtle, Blanding’s turtle and eastern musk turtle.
During their active season, from May to October, turtles move for a variety of reasons: to look for food, change habitats, find a partner to mate or lay eggs. When crossing roads or leaving waterways for sandy, warm places along sides of the road, they are very vulnerable to vehicle collisions. Around 10 per cent of the observations on carapace.ca have been reports of dead or injured turtles.
To participate, people can simply take a picture of the turtle (alive, injured or dead), note its location and complete a short reporting form at carapace.ca.
Citizen participation and science
The carapace.ca website is well used. To date, more than 1,500 people have reported over 2,760 turtle sightings and identified 70 dangerous road sections across Quebec. By sharing this data with its turtle recovery partners, NCC is helping plan conservation measures to reduce turtle deaths and protect vulnerable species.
The contributions of these budding biologists have been invaluable. Quebec residents have played an essential role in this project because, without them, it would be impossible for NCC to identify the accident hot spots and collect sufficient data.
“Carapace.ca involves more than 100 partners across Quebec who help mobilize residents in their respective areas to increase the number of turtle observations on the roads year after year. Thanks to this citizen participation, we have identified stretches with a risk of collision for turtles. We have to keep up these efforts in order to help implement conservation actions.” ~ Caroline Gagné, program director for western Quebec, Nature Conservancy of Canada
NCC would like to thank the financial partners who have contributed to the creation of the carapace platform: the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du Quebec, the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques du Québec (Projet Ensemble pour la nature), the Équipe de rétablissement des tortues du Québec, the Fondation de la faune du Quebec, and all those who have made individual donations on our website.
carapace.ca by the numbers
Over 2,760 turtle observations
- 1,522 observers
- 250 reports of dead or injured turtles
- 70 road fatality hot spots identified, including:
- 33 in the Outaouais
- 13 in the Laurentians
- 12 in Montérégie
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada’s leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC has helped to protect 2.8 million acres (more than 1.1 million hectares), coast to coast, including 111,197 acres (45,000 hectares) in Quebec.
The Ensemble pour la nature project (PEPN) is a three-year, $15 million grant to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) from Quebec’s Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC). It aims to establish financial partnerships and acquire scientific knowledge to ensure the conservation and protection of natural environments on private lands in Quebec between now and March 31, 2020. It thus promotes solidarity with respect to protected areas by involving Quebec communities in conservation actions.
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