Toronto Zoo Says Pet Turtles Were Abandoned In Parking Lot

Three red-eared slider turtles were abandoned in a plastic tote with only a few inches of water in a closed Toronto Zoo parking lot on July 6.

The turtles were left defenceless against the weather during a heat warning for the city with only a "small piece of cork" to hide under, according to the Toronto Zoo.

Fortunately, they were found by a movie crew filming nearby.

Eric Cole, The Toronto Zoo's director of wildlife and welfare, told Narcity the turtles would have "perished" if they hadn't been found in time.

"[People] usually abandon them somewhere where they where they think they might be found," he stated. "We wouldn't have found them because they weren't even left at the front gate."

Cole says the turtles are doing fine and are currently in the Toronto Zoos' reptile quarantine facility being cared for until they can be moved to their new home.

On Friday, Cole says the turtles will be moved to Little RES Q, a non-profit reptile rescue specializing in red-eared sliders turtles.

Cole told Narcity that dozens of turtles have been abandoned at the Toronto Zoo over the years, along with many other animals.

While staff usually end up caring for the animals, the Zoo also actively searches for alternative homes.

"That's not our job, really, to take every abandoned pet in Canada because our whole Zoo would be full."

Cole urges people to think twice before buying a turtle or exotic pet.

"I would never encourage anyone to get an exotic animal for a pet. You know, but these animals [turtles] can live to be 50 to 60 years old. So are you prepared to look after them for their whole life?"

The Toronto Zoo is on track to give their animals COVID-19 vaccines.

A spokesperson for the Toronto Zoo confirmed with Narcity that it will be one of the six zoos across Canada to provide doses to their animals as soon as it becomes available.

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