Threatened turtles on their way to lay eggs crushed by cars in Kamloops, Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Threatened turtles on their way to lay eggs crushed by cars in Kamloops, Okanagan

A western painted turtle is recovering at the Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society after getting hit by a car.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Eva Hartmann

A forest service road in Kamloops has western painted turtles crossing it to find spots to lay their eggs and two were run over by vehicles and taken into the BC Wildlife Park rehabilitation centre with injuries earlier this week.

One of the turtles had its broken shell stapled together and is recovering, while the other one died, however the eggs were collected for incubation.

“I’ve seen a ton of the turtles on the road and have moved several of them to safety,” said Siya Markel, a Bachelor of Natural Resources student at Thompson Rivers University. “This is egg laying season and they’re trying to find a good spot.”

Markel has been using the road regularly as part of her field studies and helped get the two injured turtles transported to the wildlife rehabilitation centre in Kamloops on June 19.

The western painted turtle is a threatened species in BC, and the only native pond turtle left in the province. Its habitat has been altered or destroyed by development. The turtles have been getting crushed by traffic during their migratory journeys to find mates and nesting sites in the Thompson Okanagan for years. The Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society in Summerland is currently caring for several turtles that have been hit by cars in the Okanagan.

“They are most likely to be crossing roads near wetlands, but they can also appear where you least expect it,” a society social media post. “It is egg laying season so they be trying to nest on the shoulders of roads close to bodies of water.”

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The society recommends helping the turtles cross the road to the other side in the same direction they are travelling.

Markel said she hopes drivers on the winding Lac du Bois Road will slow down, especially around corners, and that signage will be put up.

“The only turtle crossing sign I’ve seen on that road is placed on a sharp corner and is faded,” she said. “I hope more signs will be put up, the road is winding and there isn’t much time to stop for a turtle.”

READ MORE: iN PHOTOS: Western painted turtles spotted sunning themselves in Kamloops, Okanagan

If an injured turtle is found the society recommends contacting them, recording the location of turtle and putting into a dry container with air holes.

Do not give the turtle food or water and keep it at room temperature until arrangements can be made with a partnering vet clinic.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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