Press Release

April 27, 2021

With spring, conflicts between people and wildlife increase, particularly as more and more people are enjoying being outside—but there are restrictions on what you can do in the great outdoors.

Since the Central Okanagan Land Trust holds protective covenants on a number of wetlands and other special natural features in the region, its board would like to remind people it is illegal to possess wildlife, and also to release non-native species into the environment.

“Kidnapping wildlife is not okay,” notes Sergeant Terry Myroniuk of the North Okanagan Zone of the Conservation Officer Service.

It’s an offence to be unlawfully in possession of wildlife without a permit, he explains. You can’t take wildlife home, then release it a week later either, he adds.

That includes tadpoles, frogs, turtles, fish and baby fawns. People sometimes make the mistake of believing because they’ve found a fawn alone, that its mother is not nearby, but that’s unlikely to be the case. She will leave her fawn in safety to go and browse during the day, returning to nurse regularly and check on her little one.

It is also unlawful to harvest from provincial parks, and illegal to take anything out of a park, whether provincial or regional—from plants to rocks to wildlife.

Myroniuk is also concerned about the release of such non-native species as pet rabbits or the red-eared slider turtle which is sold in pet stores. That species is not from B.C. and it out-competes the native painted turtle for habitat if people release those non-natives in the wild here.

It’s the same story when people release the contents of their fish tanks and aquariums into wild waters in B.C., with invasive species such as the goldfish, a non-native member of the carp family, out-competing native fish for aquatic habitat and food.

He believes usually it’s simply a lack of awareness that results in people’s actions, but that doesn’t change the fact that turtle-napping is illegal, along with any other harassment of wildlife.

COLT president, Gord Savage, comments, “It’s wonderful at this time of year to get out in nature. We are trying to conserve natural features in this region so there will always be beautiful natural places for people to enjoy. However, it becomes even more important that all of us enjoy such places responsibly and leave them in as good or better condition than before we were there.”

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