Western painted turtles will have new habitat in Swan Lake later this year thanks to a grant from Shell Canada.
Victoria-based Habitat Acquisition Trust has been awarded $25,000 from Shell Canada, which has committed funding for environmental projects across the country.
HAT submitted its Western painted turtle habitat improvement project, and it made the cut through an online voting process. The money will be used to build and install turtle basking logs in Swan Lake, and for ongoing research and tracking of the Vancouver Island native creature deemed a species at risk.
“The basking logs in Swan Lake will help turtles live through the (winter) season,” said Peter Papagiannis, with HAT. “It allows turtles to climb up and survive. There is a high population in Swan Lake and not enough habitat and room for all of them.”
HAT expects to install more basking logs, a few already exist at the Saanich wetland, in October. Papagiannis said the project connects with people interested in wildlife conservation.
“I think there’s something about turtles that interests people,” he said. “We got a lot of votes from Ontario from people with a turtle project, and votes from all over.”
Shell Canada provides $2 million per year toward environmental projects that improve the land, air or water.