They are long lived animals, yet it takes about 60 years to replace just one
Each loss is a lifetime
Turtles are Eco-Heros
Turtles are a Keystone species, and their role in the food-web is essential to an entire chain of linked species, habitats, and ecosystem functions- all which benefit humans. This means that without turtles at sufficient numbers in the ecosystem, the ecosystem can collapse and other species populations and ecosystem functions will be compromised. In fact, it is estimated that 70% of fish and wildlife in North America rely on turtles doing the jobs they do!
Turtles are essential in maintaining water quality because they remove the sources of harmful bacteria - Turtles eat carcasses of fish and animals that die in lakes and wetlands. Turtles are also essential in keeping fish habitat and wetland areas thriving! Turtles, as they age, eat more and more seeds and vegetable matter, rather than protein. They cycle nutrients in their guts and shells; seeds in their guts are made viable and are spread to make new fish and wildlife habitats as turtles walk through their territories. Therefore, while beavers in Cottage Country keep water on the land, turtles spread biodiversity so that wetland habitats thrive. Turtles are the best janitors and gardeners for our lakes and wetlands.
We have lost over 60% of our turtles in Ontario and this number may be as high as 70%. It is estimated that if we lose 20% more of our snapping turtle populations, that they will be extinct in 20 years. Snapping turtles may be best cleaning crews and biodiversity agents we have.