The Western Painted Turtle is Vancouver Island's last remaining native turtle species. They are an endangered species, and they need your help!
If you find a turtle
Many people are concerned for Western Painted Turtles they find in unexpected places, including backyards, roads, and ditches. While it is tempting to "help", often we ending doing more harm than good. Turtles are almost never lost - they are where they are for reason, even if it's only known to them. Sometimes, unfortunately, where they are is not safe, and that's when it's time to help.
When to help
If the turtle is in immediate danger, such as on a road, please move it out of danger in the same direction it was facing.
When to record and report
If you have a turtle on your property
Turtles typically live in wetlands or lakes, but they do use "dry land" for nesting and mitigation. If you find a turtle on your property, please record and report it, but try to interfere with it as little as possible. Some land care practices can make life very difficult for turtles. Retaining walls are impossible for turtles to climb, and replacing sandy soils with turf can accidentally disrupt nesting sites. If you live in an area frequented by Western Painted Turtles, HAT would be happy to visit you, and help you find ways to conserve habitat features on your property that are important for turtles and other species that rely on wetlands and riparian areas.
As a Volunteer
Volunteers are needed to track Western Painted Turtles at the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary. A very regular committment is needed, but the information you collect will help us not only protect turtles in and around Swan Lake, but give a better understanding of how Western Painted Turtles naviagate complex urban landscapes many now find themselves in. Contact the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary for more information about volunteering at the Sanctuary.