Endangered Burnaby Park Turtles Get New Home

When the Silver Creek in Burnaby Lake Park was polluted by coal spilling from a train crash in 2014, a group of western painted turtles placed there in 2010 by the Coastal Painted Turtle Project found themselves living amidst chunks of metallurgical coal. But now members of the same Project have come to the rescue of these endangered creatures, the only remaining native freshwater turtle species residing in British Columbia.

Following the spill, crew members and officials from the Canadian Pacific Train causing the damage managed to dig up nesting turtles so that hatchlings could be reared off site while the area was being sanitized, reports The Vancouver Sun.

But some coal sediment remained, along with the problem of compacted sand which made burrowing for adult turtles difficult.

And recently, Deanna MacTavish spearheaded an effort with other members of the Coastal Painted Turtle Project to relocate juvenile turtles from the still polluted beach so that Lafarge Aggregates can remove the old sand and replace it with a fresh beach. MacTavish reports that the fresh new sand will encourage plenty of nesting in the New Year. She estimates that the Burnaby Lake Park location houses roughly 300 endangered adult and juvenile coastal painted turtles.

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