David Coulson

A Glimmer of Hope
Location: Toronto, Canada
Nationality: Canadian
Biography: David Coulson is a photojournalist and visual storyteller based in Toronto, Canada. Positioned at the intersection of environmental and social issues, his work examines the complex yet inextricable link between people and planet. From the wetlands... MORE
Public Story
A Glimmer of Hope
Copyright David Coulson 2023
Date of Work Aug 2017 - Jan 2019
Updated Jan 2019
Location london, Ontario
Topics Animals, Conservation, Documentary, Environment, Photography, Photojournalism, Wildlife

Perhaps Canada’s most peculiar looking turtle, the spiny soft shell is the only freshwater turtle to have a pliable, leathery shell and long, snorkel-like snout. They are also one of Canada’s most threatened turtles, currently listed as endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act. This is due to a variety of factors: habitat loss, flooding, invasive plants and poaching, coupled with the fact that females need to be 12-years-old to lay eggs. 

In Southern Ontario, the Upper Thames Conservation Authority (UTCA) have been working for over two decades to restore a struggling population that has been hovering around 1,000 remaining turtles. The recovery program protects nests, and incubates and hatches baby turtles, releasing them into the Thames River. Even with the conservation strategies, turtle survival rates are low. It is estimated that for every 100 turtles placed into the river area, maybe one will survive. Sometimes, the rate can be as low as one in every 1,000.

Despite these odds, the UTCA restoration team has remained dedicated and persistent, releasing a record 6,000 hatchlings into the river during the summer of 2017. For every baby turtle that disappear into the river banks, a glimmer of hope remains. 
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