Laula the turtle recently returned home to Poole Creek, the final chapter of a two-month rehabilitation for the endangered snapping turtle.
“It is extremely satisfying to see an animal return to the wild,” said Kerry Reimer, a Stittsville resident and volunteer with the Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.
“I picked her up from the box and put her on the edge of the creek. She dove right in. I had the neighbourhood kids with me and we watched her under the water and then she dove down.”
Laula was brought to the sanctuary in June after being hit by a car in Stittsville. She suffered injuries to her head and was sent to the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre in Peterborough for specialized care.
The facility treats hundreds of endangered turtles each year. Seven of Ontario’s eight turtle species are endangered, mostly due to loss of habitat and getting hit by cars.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources rules require that turtles be returned to nature within one kilometre of where they were originally found. Laula was released into Poole Creek, near Reimer’s house in Fairwinds.
Laula is just one of many animals Reimer has helped since she started volunteering with the sanctuary two years ago.
“I feed baby orphaned animals. I’ve worked with squirrels, flying squirrels, mink, racoons, skunks, rabbits, groundhogs, a porcupine and turtles. This year there were baby foxes. They are all cute but my favourite is skunks,” she said.
The Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary has admitted about 60 turtles per year over the past two years, including snapping turtles, painted turtles and blanding’s turtles.
If you find a turtle or wild mammal in distress, you should safely contain it and put it in a quiet, warm dark place. Visit www.rideauwildlife.org for information or call 613-258-9480. Some orphaned mammals can be reunited with their mothers under the right circumstances. For birds, call the Wild Bird Care Centre at 613-828-2849.
(Photos courtesy of Kerry Reimer)
Have you seen any snapping turtles or other interesting wildlife in Stittsville? Tell us about it in the comments below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org