Lost turtle may be 20 years old

Lost turtle may be 20 years old

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The turtle found on a road near the Wungong River.

A turtle was found displaced in an area being developed along the Wungong River in Hilbert.

The male turtle was found near Eleventh Road in Hilbert and was travelling around recently cleared areas near the Wungong River.

He was admitted to the Darling Range Wildlife Shelter for a health check before being released the following day after his health exam showed no major injuries or abnormalities.

When admitted the turtle was found to be slightly dehydrated with some minor grazes, which led the shelter to make the decision to relocate him to a safer location on the Wungong River.

Wildlife Liaison and Support Manager at Darling Range Wildlife Shelter Yasmin Hunter said the Wungong River is home to a large turtle population.

“Turtles do travel over land to lay eggs or find new water bodies, though they spend most of their time in wetlands and water bodies,” she said.

“Freshwater turtles around Perth are at increasing risk of population decline due to habitat loss, habitat degradation and annual loss of females due to predation.

“Many wetlands around Perth have been, and continue to be cleared for development.”

According to Ms Hunter, the turtle found at Wungong River is suspected to be more than 20 years old.

“Being a male, he may have been walking over land to find a new water body or he may have been following an annual migration route but became displaced by habitat clearing in the area,” she said.

Turtles are hatching out all around Perth wetlands at the moment, if baby turtles are seen and appear healthy, people can help them by carefully transporting them to the closest water body if the turtles are likely to be compromised by roads, cats, dogs or kerbs.

“If larger turtles are found out of water, we suggest people call a wildlife shelter for advice,” Ms Hunter said.

If you find a turtle out and about, contact the shelter on 9394 0885 for advice.

Alternatively, call the Wildcare Helpline on 94749055 or the Turtle Oblonga Rescue and Rehabilitation Network (TORRN).