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New Zealand fisherman catches North American freshwater turtle

Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A fisherman in New Zealand said his unusual catch, a freshwater turtle native to North America, might end up as his new pet.

Gavin Cameron said he was fishing for salmon with some friends in Dunedin's Steamer Basin during the weekend when a small turtle swam right up to their boat.

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Cameron said he and his friends plucked the turtle out of the water and placed it in a bucket to bring it back to shore.

They contacted the local SPCA after some online research revealed it was a red-eared slider turtle, a freshwater species native to North America.

Wildlife officials in New Zealand said the species of turtle is a common pet, but is considered an invasive species and it is illegal to release them into the wild in the country.

The turtle was taken by the local SPCA and Cameron said he is considering adopting the turtle as a pet if it is not claimed in the next seven days.

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