These DEC officers just took saving the turtles to a whole new level.

You've seen so many stories of people selling the weirdest animals online. For the most part, they are all done illegally. This story is no different.

Policeman working on computer in car

Operation Reptilian Rescue

Back on March 12th, Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) caught wind of someone selling painted turtles online. Now even though these turtles aren't endangered, they are considered native wildlife and cannot be sold or kept as a pet. That's right, having a painted turtle pet is illegal.

The ECOs knew they had to do something to save these turtles. They decided to offer the seller $200 for five turtles and meet him in person. The plan was simple, one ECO acts as the buyer while the others hide in an undercover vehicle. Good news for the turtles, it all went swimmingly.

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

The seller met with the "buyer" and ECOs Kochanowski and Pabes swooped in to save the day. They seized the turtles and ticketed the seller for illegal possession and sale of protected wildlife.

The Officers then brought the turtles to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Luckily they got there at the right time because two of the turtles were diagnosed with life-threatening fungal infections. According to the DEC, both turtles are expected to make a full recovery.

If you want to learn more about Painted Turtles and other native New York turtle species, you can visit the DEC's website.

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