In Ontario, it is legal to hunt Snapping Turtles. Snapping Turtles are a species at risk, and their numbers are in decline across the province. The Huron Stewardship Council encourages sustainable resource use. Given the long life span of turtles and their low reproductive rates, allowing the Snapping Turtle hunt to continue is NOT sustainable.
The picture above compares the reproductive rates of Snapping Turtles to other game animals. By year 17, bears have produced 25 offspring, moose 681 offspring, and white-tailed deer 912 offspring, but Snapping Turtles have only laid one clutch of eggs. It may take decades of laying eggs for one of those eggs to hatch, survive maturity, and have the resulting adult lay its first clutch of eggs.
If we are going to prevent the decline of Snapping Turtles to extinction, we must ask for a ban on the Snapping Turtles hunt.
What you can do to help
You can visit Ontario Nature’s website to sign a petition. The staff at Ontario Nature are being vocal about banning the Snapping Turtle hunt now.
You can post on the Environmental Registry (see instructions below)
You can share this information with a friend!
How to post on the Environmental Registry (EBR) in Ontario
From the Canadian Herpetological Society
The Snapping Turtle is listed as a Species at Risk in Ontario. Although still widespread, the growing threats to this turtle means that populations are decreasing across the province. The science is clear about turtle declines, yet Ontario still allows a legal Snapping Turtle hunt. The government currently has a public comment period on the harvest, ending January 30th, 2017.
The Canadian Herpetological Society (CHS) is urging those concerned about Snapping Turtles to provide comments. Instead of changing harvest levels, which will still threaten the long-term viability of this species, we are asking for the harvest to be ended permanently. Attached is the CHS letter that will be submitted to the government through their EBR website (details on how to do this will follow). The more submissions to the EBR on this very important matter the better, so let your colleagues know. If you feel this harvest should be ended based on the fact that the Snapping Turtle is an at-risk species and the available science shows that a turtle harvest is not sustainable, please take a few minutes to make your opinion known. Feel free to review the science in our letter and incorporate some of it into your response. You will also notice in our letter that CHS has concerns about the lack of science behind the Bullfrog harvest as well.
Original letters are best, but a sample letter follows:
EBR# 012-9170 and EBR# 012-9169. I am writing to request that the Snapping Turtle and Bullfrog be removed as Game Species under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. Snapping Turtle are exceptionally susceptible to long-term population declines when adults and older juveniles are removed from the wild. Their late age of maturity, low egg and juvenile survival rates, and need for older animals in the population means that it can take many decades to replace adults lost from an area. Snapping Turtles already face exceptionally high adult mortality from human-caused threats, and to allow a federally and provincially listed Species At Risk to be harvested goes against the available science, and further threatens recovery efforts. Regarding the removal of the American Bullfrog as a Game Amphibian Species under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act: The Bullfrog Harvest is not supported by science, and the growing threats to this species make them susceptible to further declines in Ontario.
Feel free to use the sample letter, but try and personalize it as individual letters count for more than form letters. Change the beginning. Re-write a few sentences. Add a personal touch about why Snapping Turtles are important to you.
There are two current amendments on the EBR website where your input will be valuable. The same comments are relevant for both, though if you only have time for one, comment on link one. Follow the links below to be directed to the appropriate EBR website page. On the right side of the page, click “Submit Comment”. This is where you fill in your contact details and your comment. An original comment, or information from the sample letter above can be cut and pasted into the comment box.
Link 1: Link 1 – In the body of your comment for the link below, state that it is for “EBR# 012-9170”
Link 2 – In the body of your comment for the link below, state that it is for “EBR# 012-9169”