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Turtle nesting season has arrived

Jun 17. 11

Each year, from June until early July in the Pender Harbour region, female western painted turtles leave their freshwater lakes and come ashore to lay eggs.

This annual ritual has been going on for millennia. Turtles have existed on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs, but now many species, including the Sunshine Coast's painted turtles, are threatened with extinction.

Nesting season started slowly this year, perhaps because of the cooler than normal temperatures, but in the past week the Sunshine Coast Wildlife Project team has received many reports from community members who have spotted turtles.

"Sightings from community members are so valuable," said Wildlife Project leader, Dr. Michelle Evelyn. "They help us understand nesting habitat use and conserve this precious endangered species. For community members lucky enough to witness nesting turtles, it can be an amazing experience.

"We are especially excited to see if the turtles will use our newly constructed nesting beaches at North Lake and Lily Lake. Each year, female turtles were being killed on the roads at these sites while searching for suitable nesting locations. We hope the turtles will like our new beaches and choose to nest on them rather than entering roadways."

The Wildlife Project is an initiative of the Iris Griffith Centre, the University of British Columbia Biodiversity Research Centre and BC Conservation Foundation.

Residents are reminded to call the Wildlife Project at 604-989-1007 or report their turtle sightings on-line at www.coastwildlife.ca.

See the original story published in the Coast Reporter

 

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