Wildlife rehabilitators are searching for the owners of an African spurred tortoise, a species usually found in the Sahara desert, that was picked up meandering along Cowichan Lake Road.
The female tortoise was found by passersby last week and taken to the Salt Spring Island Wildlife Natural Care Centre, where she is recovering from her adventure with the help of heat lamps and a heating pad.
“This is a special-needs turtle. You can’t just stick her any old place,” said Jackie Ballerone, a director at the centre.
The tortoise was sent to see Ian Lawrie, a veterinarian in Nanaimo who specializes in exotic pets, and he confirmed the species, ensured she was healthy and estimated she is between 50 and 70 years old.
The lifespan of African spurred tortoises, the third largest species of tortoise in the world, is 50 to 150 years.