Western Pond Turtle Avoids Life in Captivity Thanks to Alert Craigslist Seller! (photos!!)

Although nearly every patient who we admit at Humboldt Wildlife Care Center is a victim of industrial society, not all victims are injured. Recently we took a call from a man in Scotia, south of Humboldt Bay, telling us that while he’d had an aquarium listed on Craigslist someone had contacted him asking if it was suitable for a turtle. He’d asked what species and the person had told him he didn’t know but that he’d found the turtle in the Eel river.

The caller said that he’d convinced the man to surrender the turtle and that he would bring the kidnap victim to us the next day.

Among all wild species of vertebrates, reptiles and amphibians are some of the least protected by law. In California as long as you carry a sport-fishing license you may legally possess anywhere from one to an unlimited amount of turtles, frogs, salamanders, etc on any given day. Western Pond Turtles (Emys marmorata), however are listed in by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as Species of Special Concern, due to their restricted range and relatively small population. (see more info about CDFW’s special species list here.)

True to his word, the caller came by the next day with a Western Pond Turtle. After an exam, we determined that the turtle was in good health with no injuries, so the next day we too him back to secluded spot along the Eel river near Scotia.

Our examination found no problems at all. A healthy male Western pond turtle!

We selected a release site along the Eel River near Scotia, where the turtle was first kidnapped.

And then he sunk from view back into the surrounding and surrounded Wild.

While laws might not protect reptiles and amphibians as much as we’d like, laws are not the only thing that keep us and those we cherish safe. Awareness, respect, common sense, and an imagination that allows us to see the central fact of any living being’s right to be, their right to co-exist with us without harassment and unharmed. This is a major part of our work. Your support allows us to do all that we can to promote co-existence with our wild neighbors, and to remind the adults of our society of the love for the Wild into which they were born and for whom they’d once had an affinity as natural as love for our mother.

Thank you for making sure we’re here, doors open, ready to provide whatever assistance is needed to our wild neighbors. If you’d like to support our work, please donate today!

all photos: Laura Corsiglia/BAX