In order to contribute to the protection of healthy Brown Snake populations, the Ecomuseum Zoo has undertaken an important project related to the species’ conservation on the island of Montréal. The project furthermore helps raise awareness among citizens living in close proximity to the species of the importance of these habitats and their preservation.
Phase I of the project has been completed thanks to the generous support of the Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l’environnement whose contribution totaled $48,600. Hence redesigns and enhancements were affected in three nature parks where brown snake populations are known and established: Bois-de-l'Île-Bizard, Bois-de-Liesse and Pointe-aux-Prairies. A total area of 14.5 hectares was renewed and 128.16 metric tons of blasted stone was used to erect two hibernacula and 39 shelters.
In order to raise awareness among the surrounding population of the importance of maintaining the species in each of the targeted nature parks and to protect their natural environment, the Ecomuseum Zoo created educational tools that explain why the species is susceptible to being designated threatened or vulnerable within the province. Keeping the same goal in mind, a pamphlet was designed and distributed to key locations in the city, and three educational panels were produced and installed in the three targeted nature parks.
This project is part of a broader initiative to better protect and promote the richness and importance of this reptile's habitats in the Greater Montréal area. Since its inception, the Ecomuseum Zoo Wildlife and Natural Habitat Conservation department has been working to ensure that populations of this rare species, now found to be in a precarious situation, can be better understood and protected. With the support of several partners, these efforts will continue in the years to come.
The one and only exterior zoo on the island of Montréal, the Ecomuseum Zoo has been offering its visitors a unique and natural experience for now 30 years. Open to the public for the first time in 1988, it is operated by the Saint-Lawrence Valley Natural History Society, a not-for-profit organization with a mission centered on animal well-being, education and conservation of species and their habitats. Since its inception, the Ecomuseum Zoo has developed expertise in research and conservation of reptiles and amphibians in Québec. In 2011, the Ecomuseum Zoo won CAZA’s Thomas R. Baines Award for the body of its work with Québec's reptile and amphibian populations. The Ecomuseum Zoo is accredited by CAZA-AZAC (Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums).
The Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l’environnement supports organizations that work concretely to protect, restore and enhance natural environments and strive to educate local communities about the specific environmental issues of their surroundings. From 2001 to 2017, the foundation allocated $15 million to 272 projects implemented throughout Québec's administrative regions. The overall value of these projects is estimated at just over $48 million. To find out more about the different projects the foundation has contributed to, visit www.hydroquebec.com/fondation-environment/.