Vice Guide to Right Now

You Can No Longer Murder Snapping Turtles in Ontario


by Mack Lamoureux
Apr 3 2017, 9:27pm

Photo via flickr user Scott Larsen.

So, you can't just indiscriminately murder snapping turtles in Ontario anymore.

I know it's lame, but it's true. After a bunch of people got mad at the summer open season on snappers in Ontario, the government decided to change the hunting regulations around the animal. Now instead of being able to stomp all the shells you want, there is a full on ban.

"Based on public feedback, there was significant opposition to maintaining any open season for snapping turtles," reads a statement from the ministry. "Snapping Turtle is a long-lived species that reproduces slowly and is subject to other significant stressors such as road mortality. The Ministry has closed the Snapping Turtle season to help maintain populations of this species into the future."

Before the ban, if you were skilled enough to track down two snapping turtles in one day, you could off both those suckers (but no more). I'm from the turtle-free province of Alberta, so I don't really know why you would hunt a snapper but I assume it's for like a soup or something. However, a bunch of party poopers got together and started a movement to end the hunt. In the end, the ministry receiving almost 14,000 complaints about the turtles.

The David Suzuki foundation commended the province on their decision.

"At a local scale, the hunt can have disastrous impacts on some populations," said Rachel Plotkin, the David Suzuki Foundation Ontario science projects manager, in a press release. "Ending the hunt is important not only at the local scale but also on the global stage, as turtles are in decline across the planet."

The snapping turtle can be hunted in Saskatchewan still but it is banned in Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and, now, Ontario.

On the government website for the animal, they are listed as being under "special concern"—meaning that they are not currently threatened but "a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats" can lead to them being endangered. The turtles currently live mostly in the southern part of Ontario and, over time, their liveable habitat in Canada is shrinking.

In the meantime, I guess Ontarians going to have to find another reptile to satiate their bloodlust.

May I suggest snakes?

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