Conservationists are mourning the loss of one of Ontario's oldest snapping turtles, whose remains were recently found in what they say was an unexpected location.
The group Turtle Guardians says the turtle named Grace, estimated to be about 125 years old, had been missing for more than a year from its usual habitat in the area surrounding Haliburton, Ont.
Turtle Guardians' website says that Grace's remains were recently brought to their office, after the turtle's skeleton was found in a watershed that neighbours her typical grounds.
The group says that was unusual because Grace would have had to travel more than 15 kilometres to get there.
The conservationists say it's likely that Grace was somehow relocated and then became lost and unable to find a place to hibernate for the winter.
Turtle Guardians say Grace was the oldest female snapping turtle on record in the Ontario highlands, and was known for having just one eye and a distinctive upper shell.
They say the turtle was "loved and recognized" by people in the region and beyond, but Grace sightings started to dry up early last year after her wintering site on private property was "heavily filled in."
The conservationists don't believe that a predator killed Grace because all parts of her were found at the same location.
They say her bones were bleached white and say "the biology points to her having died many months prior."
Turtle Guardians say that before 2022, Grace was spotted by some people almost annually for at least 40 years and there are also anecdotal reports from the 1970s of her being in the area.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 4, 2023.
The Canadian Press