Every spring and the start of every fall turtles become active in Dundas, crossing major roadways to lay eggs and find food in Cootes Paradise. Only 5 turtle species remain in Hamilton and last year environmentalists estimate 150 were killed by cars.
“The turtles are basically leaving the marsh at egg laying time to go upland to lay their eggs and then the come back across the road and then the little ones come back across the road a few months later.”
The Royal Botanical Gardens along with Hamilton Conservation Authority have placed fencing on Cootes drive to block the increasingly rare turtles from crossing and prompting them to use existing tunnels.
The Dundas turtle watchers group has noticed a difference. Joanna Chapman started the watch group 8 years ago.
“If we see a turtle on the roadside and it’s trying to head across the road we take it across the road.” One of the 50 volunteers saved 200 hatchlings in 2016.
This spring the turtles may migrate sooner than before after a warm winter.