Western Painted Turtle Recovery in Lower Mainland Watersheds
This project, led by the British Columbia Conservation Foundation, will support the Pacific Coast population of Western Painted Turtle, which is federally endangered and provincially Red-listed. The goal of this project is to recover BC’s only remaining freshwater turtles by increasing recruitment. Actions include releasing “head-started” turtles, monitoring the populations’ recovery, and providing and monitoring effectiveness of essential habitat, such as basking features and nesting habitat.
Update: 130 at-risk turtles raised and released in Lower Mainland watersheds
Over 300 western painted turtles have been released in Lower Mainland watersheds to help support the province’s only remaining freshwater turtle, which is federally listed as Threatened and provincially Red-listed. The turtles were “head started,” which means they were raised in captivity until they reached a size that makes them less susceptible to predation.
The project, led by the South Coast Western Painted Turtle Recovery Group with funding from the FWCP, surveys turtle populations, monitors head-started turtles, and restores turtle habitat. This year, 134 head-started turtles were released at four sites, four nesting beaches were maintained, and nine basking logs were installed or reset. Currently, over 100 juvenile turtles that were collected as eggs are in captivity to get a head-start and will be released at a later date. Other monitored nests were left on site, protected, and will be monitored into next spring.
Western painted turtle recovery and conservation is a priority action in many of our Coastal Region watersheds and action plans.
Final report: executive summary
The goal of this project is to recover 10 populations of British Columbia’s only remaining native freshwater turtle species; the Pacific Coast population of Western Painted Turtle (WPT) that is federally endangered (SARA-listed) and provincially red-listed, in Lower Mainland Watersheds. This will be accomplished by increasing the recruitment through releasing headstarted turtles (while maintaining the genetic distinctiveness of BC), monitoring the populations’ recovery, and providing and monitoring effectiveness of essential habitat such as basking features, overwintering and nesting habitat (as per the recovery plans recommendations).
This project is led by WPT South Coast Recovery Group; a partnership between the Coastal Painted Turtle Project (CPTP) (lead by Aimee Mitchell), Wildlife Preservation Canada (WPC) (lead by Andrea Gielens who operates head-starting at the Vancouver Zoo) and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Regional Development (MFLNRORD) (lead by Kym Welstead Provincial WPT Recovery Team chair and operator of the head-stating facility in North Vancouver).
Click the provincial database link below to read the full final report for this project.