Sunday, 21 April 2013

63 Dead turtles found in creek in Australia - via Herp Digest

Daily Mercury, Australia-4/3/13- When Wally Keating came across more than 60 dead freshwater turtles at a popular Sarina swimming hole, he was immediately concerned.

The turtles were found in Plane Creek and the fisherman said he had never seen anything like it before.

He contacted the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection on Friday, March 22, when he found the turtles.

"There were 63 turtles dead," he said.

"I left three messages (with the Department) on the Friday."

Mr Keating said his call was returned on the Monday but he was on a fishing trip. When he returned on the Thursday before Easter, another 11 dead turtles were discovered.

"Something's got to be in the water," he said.

Mr Keating said he wanted the waterhole to be tested to see if anything harmful had been dumped into the creek.

"I've never seen a freshwater turtle dead and I've lived in that creek, I grew up there," he said.

"Anyone under 80 years old in Sarina would have learnt to swim there."

Mr Keating said he was concerned about people swimming at the waterhole.

"Sarina has a terrible record with water pollution," he said. "This is a new thing to happen."

Mr Keating said it was an incredibly sad thing to have happen to the much loved turtles.

Chief scientist at the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Dr Col Limpus, said they were investigating.

"While it is not a frequent occurrence, strandings of freshwater turtles in larger numbers do occur intermittently throughout the state, for a range of reasons, some natural and some related to human activity," he said.

"Reasons for this stranding incident may be determined as the investigation progresses."

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