Photo Caption Infant turtles: So small, but so brave. Bayswater councillor Catherine Ehrhardt cradles this little oblong on its release day.
TEN tiny turtles grew big enough to be released into Maylands’ Lake Bungana on June 1, after nearby resident Margaret Landre found their nest had been disturbed and called in a rescue.
She noticed the oblong turtle nest last November, suspecting a dog or fox may have dug them up. The eggs are very delicate and just re-burying them doesn’t lead to a very high survival rate.
Ms Landre contacted the Turtle Oblonga Rescue and Rehabilitation Network which excavated what was left of the eggs. They had to be careful not to rotate them as the embryo can easily become detached from the inside of the egg, killing the turtle.
ATTORN volunteer looked after the eggs and then the infants went to another specialist carer to make sure they grew big enough to catch food on their own.
Bayswater councillor Catherine Ehrhardt filled us in on the turtle release, noting that oblong turtles are important to the Maylands lakes ecosystem: Even tiny turtles eat about 70 mosquito larvae a day.
Cr Ehrhardt said the turtles nest on the shorelines in sandy soil, “and this is why it’s really important that dogs remain on a lead near our lakes and wetland areas, and cats are kept inside”.
Ms Landre, a member of the Friends of Maylands Lakes, says the turtles don’t have many spaces to nest and encouraged anyone with some free time to come along to the next FoML planting day on August 7 at 9am, between Lake Bungana and the Brickworks Lake. The planting helps the turtles as the mummas like to hide in vegetation while they look for a sandy spot to nest.
The turtles, slow and steady as always, missed having their release coincide with World Turtle Day on May 23.
by DAVID BELL