Nfld. & Labrador·Video

Turtle abandoned in Bowring Park, but rescuers aren't shell-shocked

There are many animals that make their home in Bowring Park, but a turtle isn't supposed to be one of them.

A turtle that was discovered living in the heart of St. John's is a prime example of a bigger problem

A shell of a story: pet turtle abandoned in Bowring Park

3 months ago
Duration 4:16
When there's turtle trouble, who ya gonna call? In St. John's, it's the Turtle Rest and Retirement Villa. Dennis Oliver and Tanya Constantine are already fostering sixty turtles, but they may have to make room for one more after a turtle was discovered in Bowring Park.

There are many animals that make their home in Bowring Park.

A turtle isn't supposed to be one of them.

Yet a red-eared slider turtle was recently discovered living in the park's main pond, next to the ducks and swans.

When there's turtle trouble, who ya gonna call? In St. John's, it's the Turtle Rest and Retirement Villa.

A turtle basks on a rock in a pond in Bowring Park.
This turtle was discovered in a pond in Bowring Park. It is likely a former pet that was abandoned by its owner. (Submitted by Dennis Oliver)

Dennis Oliver and Tanya Constantine operate the villa from their basement, where they've constructed a tank big enough to hold 60 adult turtles.

And 60 turtles is what they have, with a waiting list for more and calls coming in all the time.

Constantine says that people buy turtles when they're small and cute but are often woefully underprepared for the costly and cumbersome task of caring for a fully grown turtle.

In some cases, those unwanted pets wind up at the villa. But in others, they're simply abandoned, set loose in a pond or other waterway.

Oliver says that the turtle found in Bowring Park is a prime example of just how real the problem is. And in a province with no native species of turtle, the risk of an unleashing an invasive species is real, too.

Watch the video above to see the Bowring Park turtle, and an underwater view of the Turtle Rest and Retirement Villa.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zach Goudie is a journalist and video producer with CBC in St. John's.

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