Alberta Fish and Wildlife officials are searching for two map turtles that were purchased in Gibbons, Alta., last December.
Officials believe a Fort McMurray woman purchased the turtles not knowing they were an illegal species.
“No charges will be laid if the turtles are surrendered, as we believe the woman purchased the turtles believing that they were a species that is legal to possess in Alberta,” said officer Dana Brand.
The turtles were incorrectly advertised in a social media post as four-month-old drawback turtles, but officials say they are actually map turtles and pose a significant public health risk.
“Nocturnals are known as carriers of Salmonellosis and pose a potential public health hazard. They may not be sold or purchased or possessed in Alberta,” Brand added.
They were sold with a 10-gallon tank, heat lamps and turtle pellets.
The person in possession of the turtles is being asked to turn them in to the Alberta Fish and Wildlife office in Fort McMurray.
“They are an invasive species and, if released into the wild, may threaten Albertans,” Brand said. “Please do not release them into the wild.”
Anyone with information regarding the turtles is being asked to call 780-743-7200 or the Report-a-Poacher hotline at 1-800-642-3800.