Thanks to an animal rescue group, a snapping turtle hit by a car has a second chance at life.
Earlier this spring, Porter the snapping turtle was hit by a car in Sarnia, Ontario. He suffered extensive facial injuries and "quite a bit of blood loss."
The severely injured turtle was brought to nearby Heaven's Wildlife Rescue, but the centre was unable to help the animal.
"We patched up his shell, but his upper and lower jaws were injured so severely," Peggy Jenkins of Heaven’s Wildlife Rescue told the Sarnia Observer. "The quickest way we could think to get him to the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre was flying him."
Enter Rick Woodall, a Windsor-based pilot who volunteers with Pilots N Paws, a national animal rescue group. He usually offers rides to relocate rescued animals to their new homes. This time, he offered to fly a turtle to the animal hospital that could save his life.
Woodall responded to Heaven's Wildlife Rescue's request for help — and transported Porter and another injured turtle to the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre in Peterborough, 400 kilometres away.
"I didn't know it existed," he said of the turtle trauma centre. "And to be honest, I didn't know so many people were working so hard to save turtles."
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Sue Carstairs, the medical and executive director at the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre, told CBC News that the turtle is making great progress.
"He's had plenty of pain medication, that's for sure. Bit by bit, we're putting him back together. It was a little bit gory to see, but he's a lot more handsome now.
She added, "He has a good prognosis, despite all his injuries."
Woodall told the Sarnia Observer that some of his pilot buddies have nicknamed him the "Turtle Whisperer."
He doesn't mind the unique claim to fame.
"I cam now put two turtles as passengers in my logbook," he told the paper.