Ontario’s major turtle trauma centre is declaring a state of emergency after taking in nearly 600 injured turtles this year.
The hospital at the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre is bursting with the number of turtles it’s trying to rehabilitate.
Turtle surgeon Sue Carstairs spends most of her days operating on dozens of turtle shells that have been crushed by cars.
“We are beyond maximum caring capacity … we’ve never seen it this busy,” said the veterinarian and executive director of the centre, based in the Kawartha area in central Ontario.
“We’ve had double the number of admissions. We’re not sure why.”
It could be because the rainy weather across Ontario is ideal for the cold-blooded creatures, according to Carstairs.
“This year we’re seeing the turtles on the move more than last year,” she said, adding that the centre will continue to keep taking in turtles despite the influx.
Most turtles get run over by cars
In addition to habitat destruction, Carstairs said vehicles are a top threat to the province’s turtles.
“Most of the ones that come into our hospital are injured on the road,” Carstairs said.
“Most have very severe fractures of their shell. There is a lot of head trauma too, especially in species like snapping turtles that can’t hide in their shell.”