World Turtle News, 05/06/2018

Concern Expressed Over Intentional Pet Releases In Local Wildlife Preserve

The Virginia Nature Reserve is a wildlife haven located in South Africa which consists mainly of native brush; however, the area has gradually become dominated by introduced plant species including water lettuce, which grows rampant in the ponds within the reserve. Non-native flora is not the only issue; unfortunately, as the preserve has also become home to introduced fauna, such as intentionally released pets. Based on reports from local resident Tyrone Ping, people have been releasing unwanted Trachemys scripta elegans and possibly fish into the ponds and are seriously harming the delicate ecosystem of the aquatic environment. He states that pet owners may believe they are doing their pet a favor by giving it a pond to live in, but in actuality they are causing more harm than good. Now a black-listed species in South Africa, T. s. elegans out-competes native species for food and habitat, destroying established populations and creating a significant problem. Because these turtles are readily available at such a meager price, they are frequently purchased as pets, later becoming too large for their owners to manage and resulting in their release. In order to preserve our ecosystems and the populations of native species, we need to take into account the negative effects of invasive species and be responsible pet owners.

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Did You Know…

As chelonian ova develop, they absorb a portion of the calcium contained in the eggshell into their bodies, and as a result, the eggshells are thinner upon hatching than they were when they were laid.

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Photo from Northglen News.


WTN Editor

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