A wildlife advocate has called on Camden Council to do more to protect turtle colonies threatened by the development of new housing estates.
Over the past week, WIRES volunteers have worked tirelessly to rescue nearly 500 long-necked turtles discovered in two dams on the Four Lanterns Estate lifestyle village in Leppington.
Turtle Rescues NSW spokesman Shane Davies praised WIRES for its efforts but said the council should require developers to fund the cost of professional rescues.
"WIRES are good people and kind-hearted but they are not trained for proper dam rescues.
“There should have been trained professionals on site at Leppington,” he said.
“You can never estimate how many turtles are in a dam. You might not see any on top but you don’t understand what’s at the bottom.”
Mr Davies said the turtles had been left with “nowhere to go” and that why so many were discovered in the two Leppington dams.
“There were 500 turtles rescued last week, but another 1000 might have died while migrating there.”
Mr Davies and Catherine Field resident Kane Durrant formed Turtle Rescues NSW about five years ago.
The organisation mainly conducts rescues in the Camden and Liverpool local government areas.
Mr Davies called on Camden Council to make developers accountable when they drain local dams.
He said Turtle Rescues NSW had worked with neighbouring Liverpool Council to impose tighter restrictions for development applications.
“We are working with Liverpool Council to make sure the developers are doing the right thing,” Mr Davies.
In Liverpool, developers must now undertake an ecological report before draining any dam.
Turtle Rescues NSW professionals are required onsite when dams are being drained.
Mr Davies said there was a significant turtle population in Macarthur which was now at risk.
Displaced turtles looking for new homes in “big bodies of water” were easy prey for foxes.
“They also become roadkill,” he said.
Details: Turtle Rescues NSW.
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