Canada Designates 75 Acres As Protected Habitat For The Blanding's Turtle

Approximately 75 acres of land and wetlands habitat has been put under permanent protection by Canada's Nature Trust to ensure that the endangered Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) populations near Canada's Pleasant River has ample room to flourish, according to a report in NovaNewsNow of Nova Scotia.

The Bull Moose Meadow area includes freshwater wetlands and the protected lands will provide an interconnected habitat that will help the turtles and other wildlife that are at risk. The meadow is next to Nature Trust lands at Meadow Brook, which is also protected, and is surrounded by Crown lands, which is also slated for protections via the province's 12 percent protected area commitment. The Bull Moose Meadow is now the fifth conservation site designated specifically for the Blanding's turtles in the province.

Nova Scotia is estimated to be home to less than 500 adult Blanding's turtles, according to the report, and scientists say that conservation of the critical habitat of these chelonians is essential to reverse the decline in their numbers. Nova Scotia's Recovery Team for Blanding's Turtles has concurred, saying that habitat destruction and fragmentation as well as human-caused mortality of these turtles are the main culprits that have contributed to their declines.

While Canada has done quite a bit to ensure the survival of this endangered species, the United States' efforts have been mixed. The state of Wisconsin's Department of Land and Natural Resources has been under heavy pressure by the Wisconsin Builder's Association to delist the turtle, claiming the DNR put their own spin on DNR research. The DNR, after initially proposing to remove the protections the turtle enjoys, has backtracked, and wants the turtle to remain protected. The turtle is slated to be removed from the state's threatened species list January 1, 2014. The DNR has proposed an emergency rule that the turtle be placed on the state's protected animal list for 2014. The DNR also wants a permanent rule that would keep the turtle protected indefinitely.

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