A number of turtles have been killed in Rutherglen while on the move during council works to Lake King.
Contractors for Indigo Shire Council have been undertaking works at Lake King since mid-February as part of the Rutherglen Economic Revitalisation Project.
Joy Nolan, who lives within 200 metres of the lake, contacted The Border Mail concerned that the lowering of the lake for the works had caused the turtles to move elsewhere.
“About two weeks ago we started to notice turtles coming into our yard including a fairly large one that got caught in our fence,” she said.
“My neighbour has found about 10 and he’s got a pond at his home that he’s keep them in and then relocated them.
“Many have been hit by cars and on Monday within a 20 metre-stretch there were five dead turtles.”
Mrs Nolan said particularly concerning was that two species were found in the area; the long-necked turtle and the Murray River Turtle, which is listed as vulnerable on the Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria.
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“We didn’t know the works were starting and they’ve almost drained the lake,” she said.
“There seems to be no contingency plan for the turtles; they’ve got nowhere to go and it’s an appalling situation.
“I’d like to see any further turtles relocated.”
Indigo chief executive officer Trevor Ierino said the works had been carefully planned in consultation DELWP to minimise disruption to marine life.
“As such, work is being undertaken in stages to ensure water is retained in the lake to minimise potential impacts to aquatic species and other wildlife,” he said.
“Whilst a significant turtle population remains in the lake, we have become aware some turtles have left.
“Council has alerted DELWP and wherever possible contractors have assisted turtles to return to the lake.
“Motorists are urged to take extra care at the moment to look out for turtles in the vicinity of Lake King, Rutherglen.”
Mr Ierino said turtles were an important part of Victoria's natural environment, being protected under the Wildlife Act 1975.
DELWP could not confirm from The Border Mail’s photos which species of turtles had been found dead around the lake, but it’s believed one of the surviving turtles rescued by Mrs Nolan and her neighbour is a Murray River Turtle.
People who see injured wildlife or want to report illegal wildlife activity, including taking turtles from the wild to keep as a domestic pet, should phone the DELWP customer call centre on 136 186.