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Kelowna residents accused of trying to sell western painted turtle, may face charges

A complaint was made to the Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline from someone who had seen the turtle advertised for sale online, and the conservation service said it launched an investigation at that point. . Courtesy: BC Conservation Officer Service

Two Kelowna residents are potentially facing wildlife trafficking charges after being accused of trying to sell a western painted turtle they’d been keeping as a pet, according to the BC Conservation Officer Sevice.

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A complaint was made to the Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline from someone who had seen the turtle advertised for sale online, and the conservation service said it launched an investigation at that point.

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“It is illegal to keep any kind of wildlife as a pet. 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,” the conservation office said in a press release.

Read more: ‘It is illegal’ — Kelowna residents reminded not to net, collect painted turtles from local ponds

“Conservation Officers seized the turtle and it was delivered to the BC Wildlife Park in Kamloops (Tuesday). It will be cared for at the park as it undergoes assessments.”

In various parts of B.C., the western painted turtle is considered a threatened species, or species of concern, which the conservation service said means its removal from the wild can have a devastating impact on the population.

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“Every year, the COS encounters people who have taken wildlife home. In some cases, such as ‘rescuing’ deer fawns, people are well-meaning but these actions often end with the animal not being able to be released back into the wild,” the conversation office said.

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Read more: Resident concerned for endangered painted turtles in Kelowna pond

Charges of possession of live wildlife and wildlife trafficking, both violations under the BC Wildlife Act, are being considered as the investigation continues.

Reports can be made to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.

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