Okanagans Most Unwanted

The Red Eared Slider Turtle and Canada Thistle

By Brielle Ryan

How is the Okanagan Trying to Control These Invasive Species ?

The Okanagan is controlling them in different ways, the Canada thistle in particular is being controlled very heavily to try to get rid of this species because it grows by seeds and roots. where as the red eared slider turtle is quite hard to find or rather find records of people finding them because they are very easy to mistake for the western painted turtle
Red Ear Slider Turtle / Kelowna BC Canada

Where are they in the okanagan?

There hasn't been many recent sightings of the Canada thistle although it is spread throughout the okanagan and most people don't think its really invasive. The Red-Eared Slider Turtle is living in almost all of the wetlands and creeks of the okanagan it was hard for me to find some recent sightings because it is very easily mistaken for a western painted turtle.

What Are Invasive Species?

Invasive species are basically species that are not native to that area. Now I bet you are wondering what makes a species native? A native specices is a species or organism that is adapted to that habitat that it is in?

How to Identify These Invasive Species?

The Canada thistle usally grows in bundles/groups. It is usally a light pink, purple or white. The Canada thistle has a long green stem and is about 1cm in diameter and has a sweet vanilla scent. The Red-Eared Slider Turtle has a max length of 28cm and it has a smooth, dark shell it also has yellow stripes on their legs and neck. The Red-Eared Slider Turtle has a red-brown 'ear' patch located behind the eye the 'ear' patch may also be a darker brown colour

Where did they come from?

Red-Eared Slider Turtles were available for sale in flea markets in the US in the early 1900s farming of these turtles started in US in the 1950s most of these turtles bought in flea markets and that were farmed were used as food in Asia but some also went into pet stores. The Canada thistle actually didn't come from Canada but from Europe it first entered Canada from Western Europe with the first European settlers and then took root into the okanagan it was officially introduced to okanagan during the agricultural BOOM.

How do they negatively impact the okanagan?

The Red-Eared Slider Turtle can carry many deathly dieses to the other species of the okanagan. The Canada Thistle if it's eaten by livestock that livestock could die or become very ill and it is quite hard for the livestock not to accidentally eat it because it grows in such large groups