Protecting Farmland Helps Protect Critical Habitat in Ontario
Hello, my name is Chopper, and I am a common snapping turtle living on a farm in Oxford County. I have been here for a long time and I would like to share my story with you.
I live in a forest and wetland area on the farm in shallow waters where I can stay protected and out of sight. My home has been cared for very well by generations of farmers tending this land. I count myself lucky since the landowners here have now found a way to permanently protect my home.
However, my fellow snapping turtles in Ontario are not as fortunate. My female relatives travel great distances across the landscape during the summer months to find suitable mates and to lay their eggs. Snapping turtles must age 15-20 years to become mature and mate. This becomes increasingly difficult when habitat is taken away from us. The leading causes of mortality in snapping turtles are roadside deaths and habitat loss. The more natural wetland area that is taken up to build human settlement, the more roads are built to connect them. This is not a sustainable way of living and leaves little hope for my kind to survive in southern Ontario. We are now considered a species of special concern and our numbers are in decline.
There is hope. Organizations like the Ontario Farmland Trust are standing up for species like me by protecting farmland that includes significant wetland and woodland areas that turtles call home – just like mine! Snapping turtles are believed to live well past 100 years. I am fortunate that I have made it this far, but my younger kin must face the reality of a changing and harsh environment which includes the loss of habitat from development expansion.
If you believe in my species’ plight for existence, you can help by donating here and helping to protect the farm where I live.
Thank you for taking action. In an environment and world as uncertain as ours, we must stick together so we all have the opportunity to live in this great province together.