Several Blanding’s turtles at the Toronto Zoo will soon be released into the wild, but before they wave their webbed feet in farewell, turtle enthusiasts have the opportunity to name them.
Part of the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy’s “Adopt an Animal” program, the terrific turtles will be returned to their natural habitat as part of their efforts to recover the threatened species.
Guests can choose a name at the cost of $150 and in return will receive a personalized certification of adoption including a photo of the turtle, a full charitable tax receipt, the donors name displayed as a Species Ambassador on the zoo’s digital wall of recognition for one year as well as a bunch of other prizes.
If a name provided is deemed inappropriate or offensive, the zoo will reach out to request an alternate name.
Currently listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as well as a provincially and nationally threatened species, Blanding’s turtles are given a head start at the Toronto Zoo.
When they are first born, the turtles are only the size of a loonie, making them an easy target for predators. The Toronto Zoo raises them for approximately two years — until they are about the size of a baked potato — at which point their shells are much harder and they are large enough to evade most predators, going them a better chance of survival.
“Fund support the Toronto Zoo’s efforts to save and protect endangered species, like the Blanding’s Turtle, for future generations,” Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy said.
The juvenile Blanding’s turtles will be reintroduced into wetlands of the Rouge National Urban Park. This is the tenth year, they will be released into the wild, with approximately 50 turtles beings released each year.