FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: D. J. Infield - 973-824-7080 (AHS/Newark)
John Bergmann - 609-693-1900 (AHS/Popcorn Park/Forked River)
January 24, 2011
AHS/Popcorn Park Saves Southern Soft Shell Turtles Dumped Near River
WEST NEW YORK – Six soft shell turtles, not known to live in this area, are being cared for at Associated Humane Societies Popcorn Park after being found abandoned on a patch of ice on the side of the road near the Passaic River, Thursday, January 20.
Associated Humane Societies is offering a $1,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people who dumped the turtles on the roadside.
Four others were also found frozen and dead at the same location. The abandoned turtles were found by a motorist who drove by and saw a flock of seagulls attacking them. After shooing away the birds, she immediately contacted AHS Newark Animal Care Facility. The Societies’ Animal Control Officer retrieved the turtles and brought them to the Newark shelter where they were slowly warmed up and transferred to Popcorn Park in Forked River.
None of the six sustained serious injuries from the gull attacks, and are expected to survive.
“Soft Shell turtles live in the southern United States – Florida, Georgia and Alabama. The definitely would not survive in our climate. That is why we believe all 10 turtles were dumped here,” said AHS/Popcorn Park General Manager John Bergmann.
In New Jersey it is illegal to own turtles as pets without a permit. Soft shell turtles actually have a carapace – or shell – that is not as hard and rocklike as other turtles. This soft shell makes them more vulnerable to injury and more sensitive to the cold weather.
Soft shell turtles are roundish, with a long, slender nose. The female can grow up to 24 inches long and a male about 12 inches. They are extremely shy around people and will snap when threatened.
The turtles are being fed a commercial diet and will also receive a special needs diet. AHS staff are currently working to find a reputable southern turtle conservancy or rehabilitator who can take in these turtles and release them safely in their wild habitat.
Meantime witnesses can call the Society at 973-824-7080 and speak with D. J. Infield or e-mail the Society. Anyone wishing to make a donation to help the AHS care for the turtles can help to support them one time or on a monthly basis for $4 each under the Popcorn Park Wildlife Club or through AHS's Res-Q Fund, a restricted fund to help offset the expenses of animals requiring special care like these abandoned turtles.