It’s cute and may seem like the perfect pet, but two people may now be facing wildlife charges for scooping up a Western painted turtle from the wilderness in British Columbia.
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service is investigating after someone spotted a wild turtle, which is considered a threatened species in some parts of the province, posted for sale online as a pet.
“Two Kelowna individuals could be facing charges after trying to sell a Western Painted Turtle they had been keeping as a pet,” officers said. “It is illegal to keep any kind of wildlife as a pet.”
It’s a bad idea to take an animal from its natural habitat.
“Taking an animal from the wild can result in it having an unnatural life in captivity, or the animal may be accidentally killed by the action,” officers said.
The turtle was seized and taken to the B.C. Wildlife Park in Kamloops on April where it was be cared for and assessed.
Depending on the area of the province, the western painted turtle is considered a threatened species, or species of concern, which means “removal from the wild can have a devastating impact on the population.”
These turtles can live up to 50 years old, but with many predators, few make it out of infancy.
“Unfortunately, humans aren’t making survival any easier, as urban development and other activities encroach on this species’ habitat,” according to Wildlife Preservation Canada, which is dedicated to protecting endangered species.
Charges of possession of live wildlife and wildlife trafficking, both violations under the B.C. Wildlife Act, are being considered involving this captured turtle.
Officials wants people to remember reports of wildlife crimes can be made to the report-a-poacher line at 1-877-952-7277.