Another turtle discovered near Bowring Park, raising fears of ecological damage

·2 min read
This turtle was spotted in the Waterford River by Jennifer Blundon, a researcher with Atlantic Coastal Action Program. (Submitted by Jennifer Blundon - image credit)
This turtle was spotted in the Waterford River by Jennifer Blundon, a researcher with Atlantic Coastal Action Program. (Submitted by Jennifer Blundon - image credit)
Submitted by Jennifer Blundon
Submitted by Jennifer Blundon

It happened again: for the second time in a week, an abandoned pet turtle was spotted living in the waters near Bowring Park.

Of all people, it was an environmental researcher who made the discovery, a personal who already has experience with the environmental impact of an invasive species — and knows first hand what can happen when animals often bought as pets are released into the wild.

Jennier Blundon works with Atlantic Coastal Action Program, and was conducting a survey of the Waterford River when she caught sight of the turtle on Thursday morning.

Zach Goudie/CBC
Zach Goudie/CBC

"We were walking along the river doing some sight assessments," said Blundon, "and we ended up coming across a little blip in the water, which turned out to be a turtle. And it turned out to be a red-eared slider."

The red-eared slider is a popular variety of turtle sold as pets.

It is the same kind as the turtle that was recently discovered living in the Bowring Park duck pond, just around the corner from the spot where Blundon made her sighting.

Newfoundland has no native turtle species. Blundon wasn't aware of the previous turtle sighting, but through her work with ACAP she's very familiar with the issue of pets being released into the wild.

"People aren't aware of the hazards that they're causing by releasing pets into the waterways," she said.

Submitted by Tanya Constantine
Submitted by Tanya Constantine

"They think they're doing them a favour. However, it actually ends up causing a lot of ecosystem damage over the long term."

After snapping a few pictures of the turtle, Blundon got in touch with Dennis Oliver at the Turtle Rest and Retirement Villa, who successfully captured a Bowring Park turtle earlier this week.

The Villa is currently fostering more than 60 turtles, all of them former pets that were surrendered by their owners. Oliver cautioned that turtles can be difficult and expensive pets, and to think twice before deciding to get one.

Submitted by Jennifer Blundon
Submitted by Jennifer Blundon

Blundon says the fact that two turtles were found in the same area in the same week shows the problem could be much bigger than people realize.

"It's something that we don't want to see more of," she said. "As much as this is interesting, it's definitely a reason for concern."

WATCH | Get caught up on all the turtle trouble with CBC's original story on the Bowring Park turtle:

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting