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Saved Coquitlam turtle may help save the species

This Western Painted Turtle found in Lost Lake at Mundy Park in Coquitlam with a fish hook in its mouth is now healing at the Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. facilities. -  Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. Photo
This Western Painted Turtle found in Lost Lake at Mundy Park in Coquitlam with a fish hook in its mouth is now healing at the Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. facilities.
— image credit: Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. Photo

An endangered western painted turtle that was found last week in Mundy Park with a fishing hook embedded in its mouth is healing under the care of the Wildlife Rescue Association of BC and has an adventure ahead.

WRABC spokesperson Yolanda Brooks said the reptile, which was found in Lost Lake, is able to eat now that the hook has been removed but the support structure surrounding the eye was damaged by the barbed hook.

"It's a bit squinty," Brooks said, adding that the turtle appears to have no trouble seeing and is getting around fine.

That's good news to Doris Robertson, who noticed the turtle had a hook in its month about a month ago and returned with her father to capture the reptile with a butterfly net after learning about the WRA and its work with injured animals.

"He's the only western painted turtle we've seen at Lost Lake," said Robertson, who said she walks in the park just about every evening. Typically, she sees about eight to 15 turtles in the lake, next to a popular walking trail at the edge of Mundy Park off Mariner Way.

The turtle is a female, approximately six years old, and is being considered for a captive breeding program at the Greater Vancouver Zoo that will be supervised by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

There are different genetic clusters of western painted turtles and DNA testing is being used to determine whether this turtle fits into the breeding program.

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

 

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