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Turtles are hatching

Sunshine Coast Wildlife Project
Wildlife Project leader Michelle Evelyn cradles a baby turtle.

Residents living in Pender Harbour and visitors to the region’s many lakes are asked to keep their eyes open for one of the most wonderful signs of spring: tiny baby turtles emerging from their underground nests. 

The coastal population of Western painted turtle is federally threatened and provincially red-listed and faces many threats. For over a decade, the Sunshine Coast Wildlife Project has been working with the community to ensure the survival of this precious species at risk. 

Painted turtles lay their eggs in June and the babies hatch in the fall but remain in their underground nest all winter and don’t leave their nests until the following spring. Baby turtles emerge from distinctive rectangular holes and each tiny hatchling is the size of a loonie. 

Identifying nest sites and monitoring nest success is critical to conservation efforts to project the species. If you have seen a baby turtle or a nest emergence hole, please report your sighting by emailing or calling 604-989-1007. 

Turtle stewardship efforts on the Sunshine Coast are generously supported by Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Gencon Foundation, and the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk. For more information please visit or

– Submitted by Michelle Evelyn