Days after a woman was sentenced in Kelowna court for the possession and sale of an endangered Western Painted Turtle, local Conservation Officers received a tip that another person was capturing the threatened species of turtle from a pond.
Conservation Officer Ken Owens said that during an investigation into the tip, officers found that the Kelowna resident had placed the turtles in a private pond on his property.
The man was charged with two counts of unlawful possession of live wildlife, and the turtles were seized and returned to the pond by the Conservation Officer.
“The Conservation Officer Service is again reminding the public that like most native wildlife species in British Columbia, the western painted turtle is protected against harassment, killing or possession under the provincial Wildlife Act,” said Owens.
The painted turtle are blue listed species, meaning that they are vulnerable to further declines in abundance. Their removal from the wild can have a devastating impact on the population. Western painted turtles found in unlawful possession of the public are often malnourished and starved.
The turtle that was the subject of a recent case in Kelowna was found to be very small for its age by the BC Wildlife Park.
An undercover operation had intercepted the sale of the pet Western Painted Turtle named Michelangelo and the culprit was subsequently charged and then fined for possession and sale of the turtle.
Owens explained that even with the best of intentions people often “kill them with kindness,” or inadvertently cause harm to the wild animals being kept as pets.
Additionally, turtles of any size can carry Salmonella that is easily transmittable to people.