The Ecomuseum Zoo and the Granby Zoo have jointly won the Col. G.D. Dailley award
Each year, CAZA-AZAC (Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums) bestows honorary awards to accredited members who have shown exceptional achievements. This year, the Ecomuseum Zoo and the Granby Zoo have jointly won the Col. G.D. Dailley award, granted to a zoo that contributes to the long-term survival of a species, or animal population, at risk.
Research and conservation are two pillars of the Ecomuseum Zoo’s mission. We have developed extensive expertise, and benefit from a long track record with regards to research and conservation of reptiles and amphibians in Québec! The Granby Zoo team, our co-contributor, has recently adopted its Research and Conservation policy and has made biodiversity preservation a priority.
Improving recruitment of the Spiny Softshell Turtle in Lake Champlain
The Spiny Softshell Turtle is one of eight turtle species that can be found in Québec. Its status is unenviable as its species is listed as “threatened” in Québec and in Canada. The only known population in Québec is located in Lake Champlain, bordering Vermont. Many factors contribute to its status, such as the loss and degradation of its habitat and mortality caused by humans. It is however a third important factor, the regular flooding of nesting sites, that has been addressed by this project.
The Ecomuseum Zoo and the Granby Zoo have been involved in the rehabilitation of this species since the creation of the recovery team (Groupe de mise en oeuvre pour le rétablissement de la tortue-molle à épines) in 1997. From 2003 to 2009, close monitoring of nesting sites and hatching success rates allowed the team to better understand the source of the problem. Despite numerous efforts by various partners, hatching success rates at this site hovered around 28%. In consideration of these results, the Ecomuseum Zoo and the Granby Zoo began artificial incubation in 2009 allowing for the release of 476 hatchlings in the wild, a success rate of 81%.
We hope that this project will enable some of these turtles to reach adulthood and strengthen the population. Of course, other threats to the species, such as habitat loss and degradation won’t disappear overnight. Efforts should and will continue in the coming years to improve the status of the species in the wild.
Congratulations to everyone involved in the project!