Eastern Box Turtle
Scientific Name: Terrapene carolina
Other/Previous Names: Terrapene carolina carolina
Taxonomy Group: Reptiles
COSEWIC Range: Ontario
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2014
COSEWIC Status: Extirpated
COSEWIC Status Criteria:
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This turtle occurred historically in Ontario based on archeological evidence and Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge. Habitat modification has been extensive and the species is no longer extant. Considerable search effort has documented fewer than 10 individuals in Ontario, but these individuals all represent released captive individuals from unknown sources and are not considered part of the former Canadian population.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Species considered in May 2002 and placed in the Data Deficient category. Status re-examined and designated Extirpated in November 2014.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Extirpated
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2019-02-25
Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.
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The Eastern Box Turtle is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA).
More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
8 record(s) found.
COSEWIC Status Reports
The Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina) is a small terrestrial turtle rarely exceeding 16 cm in straight carapace length. It has a slightly keeled, high-domed carapace, which is usually brown to black with variable yellow to orange patterning. The plastron has a hinge, allowing the two lobes to completely close against the underside of the carapace. The Eastern Box Turtle has special cultural significance to the Iroquois. It is also the largest known freeze-tolerant animal in the world.
This turtle occurred historically in Ontario based on archeological evidence and Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge. Habitat modification has been extensive and the species is no longer extant. Considerable search effort has documented fewer than 10 individuals in Ontario, but these individuals all represent released captive individuals from unknown sources and are not considered part of the former Canadian population.
A response statement is a communications document that identifies how the Minister of the Environment intends to respond to the assessment of a wildlife species by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The document provides a start to the listing and recovery process for those species identified as being at risk, and provides timelines for action to the extent possible.
Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, acknowledges receipt, on the making of this Order, of the assessments done pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) with respect to the species set out in the annexed schedule.
Biodiversity is rapidly declining worldwide as species become extinct. Today’s extinction rate is estimated to be between 1 000 and 10 000 times higher than the natural rate. Biodiversity is positively related to ecosystem productivity, health and resiliency (i.e. the ability of an ecosystem to respond to changes or disturbances), and, given the interdependency of species, a loss of biodiversity can lead to decreases in ecosystem function and services (e.g. natural processes such as pest control, pollination, coastal wave attenuation, temperature regulation and carbon fixing). These services are important to the health of Canadians, and also have important ties to Canada’s economy. Small changes within an ecosystem can lead to a loss of individuals and species resulting in adverse, irreversible and broad-ranging effects.
COSEWIC Annual Reports
Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to "assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species".
COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2014 to September, 2015) from November 23 to November 28, 2014 and from April 27 to May 1, 2015. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 56 wildlife species.
The wildlife species assessment results for the 2014-2015 reporting period include the following:
Special Concern: 21
Data Deficient: 1
Not at Risk: 1
Of the 56 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 40 that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 24 of those wildlife species resulted in a confirmation of the same risk status as the previous assessment.
The Government of Canada is committed to preventing the disappearance of wildlife species at risk from our lands. As part of its strategy for realizing that commitment, on June 5, 2003, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species provided for under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species on Schedule 1 benefit from the protection of prohibitions and recovery planning requirements under SARA. Special Concern species benefit from its management planning requirements. Schedule 1 has grown from the original 233 to 521 wildlife species at risk.
Please submit your comments byMay 4, 2016, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultationsand byOctober 4, 2016, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations.For a description of the consultation paths these species will undergo, please see:Species at Risk Public Registry website
The status of wildlife species is assessed by an independent panel of expert Canadian scientists, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).
149 terrestrial species were assessed as at-risk by COSEWIC between 2009 and 2016 and are eligible for listing under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) to be considered by the Governor-in-Council (GIC) on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment: 86 species would be new additions, 54 currently listed species would be reclassified and 9 species would be updated to reflect changes in their recognized designatable units. A three-year listing plan has been developed to address all 149 terrestrial species and listing decisions for most species are anticipated by the end of 2018.
Making amendments to Schedule 1 of SARA is a two-step process. The first step is for the GIC to propose an amendment through an order in council published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 30-day public comment period. The second step is for the GIC to make a final decision on whether or not to make amendments to Schedule 1 of SARA, taking into consideration comments received during the 30-day public comment period. The amendments are made through an order in council published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. Both orders are accompanied by a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS) which presents the implications of listing the species or changing their status.
Publishing this plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency about the Government of Canada’s plan to make listing decisions under the Species at Risk Act.
NOTE: The information presented below is intended to provide openness and transparency with respect to when terrestrial species might be considered for listing under Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act. It is intended to assist anyone who may wish to provide comments on such listing considerations. Given any number of factors can affect the timing of a listing decision; the Plan is subject to change. Accordingly, the Plan will be periodically updated.