90 turtles found fighting for their lives at Amarillo lake, 30 continue to be treated

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center cares for 30 of the survivors.
Turtles that were found fighting for their lives at a nearby lake in Amarillo continue to be...
Turtles that were found fighting for their lives at a nearby lake in Amarillo continue to be treated at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Newschannel 10’s Taylor Mitchell tells us what caused 90 turtles to leave their home.(KFDA)
Updated: Jan. 25, 2021 at 9:14 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The West West Wildlife Rehabilitation Center continues to care for turtles that were found fighting for their lives.

The turtles were found by a nearby lake very weak and many already dead. The water they were living in caused them to get a blood disease.

Dr. Janice Wolf at Canyon Road Hospital tested the lake water and dead turtles.

She says the turtles were loaded with parasites, the temperature was too cold and the water was contaminated with high levels of manganese and iron.

“The turtles were kept in a very small environment at Playa lake, and there were a lot of parasites causing major problems to begin with. Secondly, there was a situation where we had a snow storm and Soncy was being a treated with ice melt by the snow plows. And the run off for this is, it melted, was going into the lake, and causing the high manganese level. Also, there is an iron foundry close by and it may have been contributing to the iron levels,” said Janice Wolf, DVM, owner of Canyon Road Animal Hospital.

Currently, they have about 30 turtles left that are alive and strong. They do not believe anymore will die and plan to relocate them soon. They will all be put into pairs and spread out because they are an invasive species, so they need to be relocated to different areas.

“They’re doing well and they’re thriving and so, the next step now, is just to work with local golf courses and people that have their own little private ponds, that may want one or two. We don’t want to take 30 turtles because they’re an invasive species, and dump them into a pond or a lake because they will push out other species. So, it’s something new that comes in and just basically takes over and wipes out other populations,” said Stephanie Oravetz, owner and executive director at the Wild West Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

Dr. Wolf says the red-eared slider turtles are common in the Panhandle, so it is possible someone dumped a group of them in the lake and they reproduced.

“An enclosed environment like that Playa lake, one turtle can bring in parasites and pretty soon it’s probably a good greeting ground for parasites. But these are internal parasites that are pretty common in these species,” said Dr. Wolf.

The center will relocate the remaining turtles once the temperature is warm enough.

Keep up with the Wild West Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on Facebook for updates.

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