By Monte Sonnenberg
The Ministry of Natural Resources is asking the public to be on the lookout for people behaving suspiciously around area ponds and wetlands.
The ministry has received reports in recent weeks of people in the local area helping themselves to turtles in the wild. The reports are disturbing because poaching of this sort can be devastating to species-at-risk.
“We are speculating as to why they are taking them,” Emmilia Kuisma, a district strategic officer with the MNR in Aylmer, said Tuesday. “It’s either for the pet trade or the food trade.”
The unregulated removal of turtles is a problem because the animals do not breed easily.
“It can take up to 25 years for turtles to reach reproductive maturity,” Kuisma said. “Removing even a few can have significant environmental impacts.”
Conservationists in recent years have successfully raised the alarm about reptile mortality in the Long Point-Port Rowan area.
The 3.4-kilometre Long Point Causeway linking the two communities was identified several years ago as a primary killing ground in North America for snakes, turtles and frogs. Trouble arises when they attempt to make the trip between Long Point Bay and the Big Creek Marsh. Eco-passages have since been installed beneath the causeway, allowing wildlife to migrate back and forth away from the traffic hazard.
Unfortunately, all this consciousness-raising may have flagged the Long Point area as a prime hunting ground for poachers from outside the area. More....