This long-term project targets the recovery of the spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera), an endangered species, by introducing early life support measures, and awareness, conservation and research programs through a sustainable partnership at the public and private levels.
Since 2009, 86 nests were found and placed in the Zoo’s incubators. More than 1,300 newborns were released in the wild. A telemetry monitoring of the juveniles has been conducted since 2016. The protection and establishment of shoreline habitats, a school program and awareness-raising activities in the region have also been carried out. The Mikinak Turtle Festival was initiated in 2016.
14 nests found, gathered and artificially incubated resulting in 254 eggs of which 90.5% hatched, in comparison with a hatching rate of 27% in the wild;
226 newborns or juveniles reintroduced in the wild;
23 juveniles kept at the Zoo for a period of 10–12 months, to be able to release them in 2019 when they will have increased their weight by five times;
Telemetry monitoring of 10 juveniles between August and October;
Collaboration with the Mikinak Festival in Pike River, notably by initiating a guided activity on a pontoon on the Rivière aux Brochets;
Installation of awareness-raising signs for boaters;
Stewardship with land property owners.
Vision for the future
Monitoring egg-laying activities will go on until 2022, with the objective of returning 2,000 young turtles in nature. A new telemetry season will start in 2019. The various awareness raising activities and stewardships will continue as well with citizens, then within the context of a partnership agreement with Nature Conservancy Canada.