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Nesting turtles crushed by cars in Perth's south prompts warning for drivers

By Gian De Poloni, Thursday October 11, 2018 - 10:00 EDT
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Oblong turtles are at risk of being run over cars during nesting season. - ABC

Wildlife authorities are urging people to keep a look out for breeding animals on the move after nearly a dozen nesting oblong turtles were found crushed by cars in one morning near a road in Perth's south.

Resident Josie Parisse said she was horrified to find at least 11 dead oblong turtles scattered on a street alongside Bibra Lake on Wednesday morning.


She said some of the animals were carrying eggs.

"I was in complete shock, I was bawling my eyes out," she said.

"It's common that they cross the road at this time of year and every now and then you find maybe one or two, but I've never seen so many dead ever."

Ms Parisse said she found it difficult to believe drivers wouldn't see the crossing turtles.

"Keep a bloody lookout — there's signs everywhere," she said.

"It's a 50 kilometre per hour zone, it's not a dark street, there are streetlights — it's not hard.

"There's ones on the side of the road where you would have had to have purposely swerved on to the gravel to have hit it."

Turtles seeking dry land for nesting

City of Cockburn environment manager Christopher Beaton said it was extremely unusual to find 11 turtles crushed in one area.

Rangers have spent the day cleaning up the road.

"We will be undertaking an assessment to determine if there are other ways in which we can prevent a similar occurrence happening in the future," he said.

Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions wildlife officer Cameron Craigie said the turtles would have been seeking drier land in which to lay their eggs.

"If there's a lot of rain that comes in and raises the water levels of their habitat, their eggs won't be safe," he said.

"As it starts warming up that's when they start making moves.

"We've had a call about a turtle that made its way into a drain and was flushed down to the beach.

"They turn up in all different areas — they sometimes can get down kerbs but then can't get back [up] so they spend a lot more time on the road than they need to."

Start of warmer weather means more animals on the go

Mr Craigie said people on the road needed to pay close attention to crossing animals.

"You've got your ducklings on the road all over the place," he said.

"As it starts warming up you get all of your reptiles and amphibians on the move.

"It's definitely worth always keeping your eyes out on the road, especially through spring."

The Department encouraged anyone who finds injured fauna on the road to contact the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055.


© ABC 2018

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