WIRES rescues nearly 500 turtles from Leppington dams

WIRES volunteers have worked tirelessly to rescue hundreds of turtles in Leppington over the past week.

A team from WIRES began an operation last Wednesday to salvage nearly 500 long-necked turtles that were discovered in two dams on the Four Lanterns Estate lifestyle village.

WIRES rescue office manager Zoe Harrison said the estate’s management notified WIRES and it was originally understood they had about 20 turtles to rescue.

“We’re not sure how they got there but the turtles have been there for a while and obviously something has drawn them there,” she said.

“We’ve never had a rescue of this extent, we’ve never helped this many turtles at one time.

“Unfortunately two of the turtles were injured.”

Ms Harrison said the rescue team used excavators to move the turtles safely from inside the water.

“Sewerage had leaked into the dams and both dams were pretty much empty so it was like a muddy sludge,” she said.

“We used diggers to scoop the turtles up and they were put safely next to the dam where we collected them into buckets. They were then released at multiple suitable water sites around Leppington.”

Ms Harrison said the dams would eventually be knocked down for ongoing development at Four Lanterns Estate.

However, she said the salvage operation was still under way as of Tuesday afternoon.

Ms Harrison said long-necked turtles were not a rare find in Macarthur.

“But they are getting in more trouble with so many developments going on around the area,” she said.

Leppington resident David Crowley witnessed the operation and praised WIRES for their work.

“There was a lot of work on there and it was pretty good of WIRES to come down and rescue the turtles,” he said.

It is the second time in 2018 that turtles have been rescued in the Leppington area.

In January, The Advertiser reported that turtles were being “buried alive” at sites along Camden Valley Way at Leppington and at Warwick Farm.

Animal rescuer Kane Durant said dams in the area were not being checked by developers or land-owners before being drained and filled with soil meaning hundreds of turtles were being killed.

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