Scientific Name: Terrapene carolina
Other/Previous Names: Terrapenecarolinacarolina
Taxonomy Group: Reptiles
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2014
Last COSEWIC Designation: Extirpated
SARA Status: No schedule, No Status
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.
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.
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