Shout Hooray for Turtle Day

The shelled ones emerge, April 25, at Elizabeth Lake

The Western Painted Turtle is a renowned resident of Cranbrook and environs

The Western Painted Turtle is a renowned resident of Cranbrook and environs

Angus Glass

It’s Turtle Day once more! You are invited to Elizabeth Lake, Visitor Centre, on Monday, April 25, between 3 and 5 p.m. to learn more about Western Painted Turtles.

It is a great opportunity to see displays, learn about the turtle life-cycle, talk to biologists, and hopefully see some hatchlings just hours out of their nests!

This free event is hosted by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP) and the Rocky Mountain Naturalists, with support from BC Hydro, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and the Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network.

“The Western Painted Turtle is the only freshwater turtle native to B.C., and has developed some extraordinary adaptations to survive at the northern end of its distribution range in North America,” says FWCP Columbia Region Manager Crystal Klym. “It’s a Blue-listed (vulnerable) species in the province, and together we can protect the Elizabeth Lake population so that it remains sustainable.”

The FWCP, together with the Rocky Mountain Naturalists, have been working together to monitor and protect the turtles at Elizabeth Lake for many years.

“One interesting observation is that hatchlings from 11 of the of the 58 nests laid last June, actually emerged in the fall of last year,” said Greg Ross who is monitoring the nests for the Rocky Mountain Naturalists. “Typically one or two emerge before winter, but never this many. It may be due to changing environmental conditions, but we cannot say for certain.”

The FWCP in the Columbia region is a partnership between BC Hydro, the Province of B.C., First Nations and the Public Stakeholders to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife impacted by BC Hydro dams.

For more information about Turtle Day or the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program, visit fwcp.ca, or call 250-352-1300.