Skip to content

Richmond community saves turtles at local park

Red-eared sliders are considered to be invasive under the Wildlife Act

Three red-eared sliders at Minoru Lake just found forever homes thanks to Richmondites.  

The City of Richmond found the three turtles earlier this month when they drained the lake for renovations. Red-eared sliders are considered an invasive species under the Wildlife Act, and it would usually mean that they would have to be euthanized. Thankfully, this did not happen.  

The City had reviewed the Wildlife Act again to make sure there were no alternatives and found that red-eared sliders were exempt from protection under the Act.  

“This means red-eared sliders specifically can be captured, transported, and possessed unlike most other species,” explained City spokesperson, Clay Adams.  

But because the turtles are an invasive species, they couldn’t return to the lake. They needed a new home.  

When experienced animal rescuer Ella Lee heard about the situation, she leaped into action.    

“I know they are invasive, but they are still lives, and I believe that we have a responsibility since we brought them here. We shouldn’t just throw them away or kill them like their lives don’t matter,” said Lee.  

The City agreed to release the turtles to Lee as long as she promised not to release them into the wild, and she had to keep the male turtle separate from the females.  

“The representative would call me whenever one was found, and I would pick them up. And they were docile. They didn’t try biting or anything. They were obviously pets that were released into the pond,” said Lee.  

The female turtles, who Lee named Webbigail and Wendy, were the size of a bike helmet, while Webster, the male turtle was much smaller.   

Members of the community heard about the turtles after someone made a post on the Facebook group "Community of Richmond BC," and many offered to help Lee.  

“I'm happy that people in the community came together to offer their homes and to help the City as well so that they didn’t have to resort to anything drastic,” said Lee.   

Lee is also grateful that the City was willing to work with her to rehome the turtles.  

“It’s really heartwarming to see that [the City is] willing to help little animals that others may feel are insignificant,” she added.  

Webbigail and Wendy now live in a small private pond in a fully-fenced yard, and Webster's new owners also built him a nice habitat.  

“I made sure that everyone was aware that they do live a long time and the specialized care that they need. They do require UV light or natural sunlight like many reptiles do,” said Lee.  

Invasive species are an ongoing issue in the area, and the City hopes that members of the community will understand the consequences of releasing pets and other animals.  

“We remind people it is not acceptable to release pets and other species into the wild simply because they have tired of or lost interest in caring for them at home. Such actions are a threat to the environment and place native species – as well as the animal/reptile itself – at risk,” said Adams.