Sunday, 14 August 2016

Wildlife officials urge people to stop painting endangered turtle shells

‘If you want to paint something, paint a rock,’ Florida officials implore after shells of a threatened tortoise species were found daubed with paint

Tuesday 9 August 201620.52 BSTLast modified on Tuesday 9 August 201621.50 BST

Wildlife officials in Florida have urged people to not illustrate the shells of a threatened tortoise species after several animals were found daubed with paint.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has released photos of gopher tortoises that were painted red and a shade of turquoise. The FWC said the “illegally painted” tortoises were at risk from paint fumes and from toxins that could be absorbed into the bloodstream via the shell.

Deborah Burr, gopher tortoise program coordinator at FWC, said five painted tortoises, from across the state, have been reported in recent months.

“That doesn’t sound like a lot but we didn’t hear about this happening in the state before all this,” she said. “It could be that there are youngsters who think it’s funny or people who don’t know of the harm it causes.

“This is a threatened species with protections against harassing it, which painting it definitely is. The best thing to do is admire its natural beauty. If you want to paint something, paint a rock.”

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