Tortoise enjoys a brief stay at a Nelson-area animal shelter before being returned home.(B.C. Conservation Officer Service)

Slow escape thwarted at Kootenay Lake

Captured 20-kg tortoise ‘faster than you might think’

Escaped animal calls to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service typically involve livestock, and the occasional exotic pet.

One of the more unusual cases appeared last week, when a 20 kg tortoise was found wandering on its own along the north shore of Kootenay Lake. The non-native beachcomber was picked up between Nelson and Balfour and taken to a local resident who shelters orphan deer and other animals for the service.

So how does a lumbering land tortoise that size get away?

“I saw a video of this one, and it’s faster than you might think,” said Conservation Officer Nathan Smienk, who works out of the Nelson office.

The slow escape had a happy ending, as the owners came to reclaim the tortoise by mid-week.