(Pike River) Pike River turtle celebrate the Pike River. The municipality will organize the August 6 Mikinak festival, a summer celebration of the turtle.
Conference booth on biodiversity and habitat protection, observation of these amphibians, games and activities for children, street food truck, musical evening and a bonfire are planned for this first edition of Mikinak, meaning turtle in Algonquin.
“We tried to organize a unique annual event, something that represents us. We had never scratched that idea. But when the idea was launched to have a party in connection with the turtles, we knew we had something, “says Councillor Marianne Cardinal, who unveiled the program on Friday.
The small farming community, which passes through the Pike River, has long been associated with turtles, especially the turtle Softshell. Since 1997, significant efforts were made to prevent the species disappears. Granby Zoo pilot project of rehabilitation of this turtle. Eggs are collected from the river in the summer and then are placed in incubators. Once they reach the age of ten months, the baby turtles are then released into the river where the eggs were laid.
Since the launch of this special program in 2010, 770 small soft-spiny turtles have been returned to the water.
Friday, 17 small spiny softshell turtles have returned to their birthplace. For the occasion of the third grade students of St. Joseph School of Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge and Little Tower of Saint-Georges-de-Clarenceville took part in the operation. They participate from the beginning the program in caring for young turtles. They were responsible for feeding, ensure that the water temperature is maintained and to observe them to note their behavior, said Patrick Paré, conservation and research director at the Granby Zoo. “This is important work for people’s awareness that they are learning about this species, its habitat. In addition, they do it in a scientific approach. ”
“When we came back from recess, we watched five to ten minutes to learn more about it,” says Hugo Labrecque, a student of 10 years of Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge. “Perhaps we will manage to save her. He’s gone a lot. ”
“We must protect them because they are endangered,” says Mareina Blanchard, a student of 10 years of Santa Sabina. “Pollution (the river), it did not help,” she points out.
A river, four species
There are three other species of freshwater turtles in the Lake Champlain: serpentine, painter and geographical. The presence of spiny softshell is special cachet since it is the only place in the Montérégie region where we find the notes Mr. Paré. They are a species endangered status since 2000, hence the considerable efforts to protect them.
Later this summer, biologists Zoo will release other baby turtles to soft spines. Some will be equipped with a transmitter. This will follow the telemetry to determine their movements and behavior, said Mr. Pare. “We do not know everything about them. There is still so much to discover. ”