Okanagan woman’s concern for Western painted turtles leads to turtle crossing | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Okanagan woman’s concern for Western painted turtles leads to turtle crossing

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Sarah Eden
June 12, 2020 - 1:52 PM

A Lake Country resident is spreading awareness for western painted turtles after it was discovered that cross a particular roadway in the Central Okanagan.

Sarah Eden would often see them crossing the street in front of her townhome on Lake Hill Drive, and she and her husband would grab them from the roadway to prevent them from being crushed by vehicles.

“I have lived in Winfield most of my life, and used to ride my horses up on this hillside before there were any houses. The turtles have been around a long time, and their nesting areas have been swallowed up by the neighbourhood,” she said.

Last year, Eden moved about eight of them off the road and she saw others stopping and doing the same.

After reaching out to the District of Lake Country about the issue, new turtle crossing signs are being installed in the next several weeks, said district communications officer Karen Miller.

The plan is to put the signs near the roadways around Pollards Pond in The Lakes community.

Eden thinks development in The Lakes community was unavoidable but noted that people who live there should be aware of the spaces that they share with wildlife.

The western painted turtle is the most northerly occurring turtle in North America and can survive under water in ponds that have half a metre of ice, according to The Reptiles of British Columbia.

In B.C., painted turtles are found in pockets throughout the southern interior, as far north as Golden. Currently, they're on on the provincial blue list meaning they are considered vulnerable to habitat loss, and susceptible to human and natural disturbances, according to the website.

In West Kelowna, residents have been speaking out against a development that could encroach on painted turtle habitat.

READ MORE: West Kelowna residents fighting to protect at-risk turtles and neighbourhood from large church development

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