Saving the Wood Turtle and the Brown Snake

Giving a hand to
the Wood Turtle and the Brown Snake

Did someone say summer ? Guess that means so long to our conservation team! Indeed as soon as the warmer weather hits in the spring our team of conservation biologists can rarely be seen at the zoo. And for good reason: they are out in the field working to protect Québec’s reptiles and amphibians.

Although many projects are underway, we wanted to tell you about two exciting projects our team of conservation biologists are working on these days.

The Wood Turtle

Here in Québec the Wood Turtle has been classified as a « vulnerable » species. This means that unfortunately, the species finds itself in a precarious position and needs a helping hand to ensure its survival.

For several years now, the Ecomuseum Zoo has owned and managed an important Wood Turtle nesting site in the Shawinigan area. Year after year, our conservation team works to restore and maintain the site, monitoring turtle nesting patterns, and keeping a close eye on nest evolution. We want to prevent poaching, to avoid human presence and to protect nests from predation, a thorny issue as turtle eggs are prized by many species such as raccoons and skunks.

The team also works hard to raise awareness among surrounding landowners about the importance of protecting the species. Thanks to these neighbors the Wood Turtle can count on a network of observers who work in collaboration with our conservation team to collect importance data for the study of Wood Turtle populations in the region. Important efforts for the protection of this species!

The Brown Snake : the most « Montrealer » of all Québec snakes !

In the Québec the Brown Snake can only be found in the Greater Montréal Region. It is an emblem of the metropolis and a star, despite itself, of many media stories notably when a development project encroaches on one of its populations.

Its natural habitat is not the most appealing to the masses: more and more we gladly protect forests and wetlands, but wastelands? These open brush environments are often left out of protection plans. However, many species live in such areas and in protecting these habitats, we can help many of them, including the famous Brown Snake.

That’s how our conservation team works to develop habitats in protected areas in order to optimize the chances that populations of Brown Snakes will settle in.  Our biologists furthermore work diligently with municipalities and regions to better protect the species’ habitats.

And the most difficult part of the project? Convincing the general public of the importance of protecting this unique snake species. Less charismatic than other endangered species, the Brown Snake is no less important. A number of tools to help raise awareness have been developed over the years thanks notably to financial support from many partners. After all, we only protect what we know and understand!