Trailer piled up with tur­tles

Tur­tles have been flee­ing Lake Apex

Gatton Star - - NEWS - Ebony Graveur [email protected]­ton­star.com.au

KEEP an eye out for tur­tles on the road. That’s the mes­sage a mo­torist from Junction View wished other driv­ers would heed, af­ter he res­cued 30 tur­tles from a busy road.

Odin Odell was en­route home from work when he dis­cov­ered nearly 50 tur­tles cross­ing where West­ern Drive in­ter­sects with Tenthill Creek Rd from the di­rec­tion of what re­mains of Lake Apex.

“On the way home I came to that in­ter­sec­tion again and there were tur­tles ev­ery­where,” he said.

Mr Odell was un­able to save all of the tur­tles, ar­riv­ing on the scene to dis­cover 10-15 tur­tles al­ready killed by traf­fic.

“There’s peo­ple run­ning them over and they’re get­ting squashed and in­jured.”

He pulled over and loaded up the back of his ute.

“So I just started pick­ing up tur­tles,” he said.

But there were more than he count keep track of.

“Ev­ery time I turned around there was an­other turtle com­ing up the grassy hill try­ing to get onto the road and cross.”

Mr Odell said he’d driven that route for ten years and, dur­ing the time, he’d res­cued eight ad­di­tional tur­tles but never be­fore had he seen so many at once.

“They’ve been flee­ing all over the val­ley all week be­cause all the dams have gone dry,” he said.

“And what I’m as­sum­ing is hap­pen­ing is the wa­ter is turn­ing toxic be­cause of all the ma­nure in it. They’re try­ing to flee to some­where with fresh wa­ter.”

Mr Odell said he’d been res­cu­ing na­tive an­i­mals for many years, say­ing he liked Aussie wildlife.

De­spite his ex­pe­ri­ence, the sit­u­a­tion with the tur­tles of Lake Apex left him stumped as far as a so­lu­tion was con­cerned.

“There’s not a lot that can be done, all we can do is try to find some­where to put them.”

As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor at the Gat­ton UQ Vet­eri­nar­ian Med­i­cal Cen­tre Bob Done­ley said the tur­tles were leav­ing the lake be­cause of the drought.

“They’re look­ing for some­where to go,” he said.

He said in­jured tur­tles should be brought to a vet but that tur­tles found un­in­jured should be taken back to the lake.

“The trou­ble is if you start spread­ing them around is if they’ve got an in­fec­tious dis­ease they could spread it. If they move into an­other turtle’s ter­ri­tory that would cause dis­putes,” he said.

Ev­ery time I turned around there was an­other turtle com­ing up the grassy hill try­ing to get onto the road and cross.

— Odin Odell

PHOTO: PETER CAR­RUTHERS

ON THE MOVE: Tur­tles are mak­ing their way from Lake Apex and onto the in­ter­sec­tion of West­ern Dr and Tenthill Creek Rd as they search for fresh wa­ter.

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