Busted! Fishing comp nets turtle-ly nasty reptile

News release | 16-Nov-2022

Gold Coast residents are being urged to be on the lookout for an invasive turtle species after one was caught during a recent tilapia busters fishing competition at Robina.

Biosecurity Queensland Senior Principal Biosecurity Officer Duncan Swan said Biosecurity Queensland officers were working with Gold Coast City Council to determine if a population of red-eared slider turtles exists in West Lake, Robina.

“Surveillance and trapping operations are being conducted to determine the extent of the problem,” Mr Swan said.

“The red-eared slider turtle is native to America and is listed as one of the world's 100 worst invasive alien species.

“They are very aggressive and once they become established, become hyperabundant and will out-compete native species for food and space.”

Mr Swan said the establishment of new pest populations was always a risk while people continue to illegally import and keep red-eared slider turtles as pets.

“Illegally keeping exotic animals creates a serious biosecurity risk as these animals may have diseases which could decimate our native populations and even pose a risk to human health,” Mr Swan said.

“Unfortunately, red-eared slider turtles are climatically matched to areas of Queensland, and in the past fifteen years, 40 red-eared slider turtles have either been seized as illegal pets or been found dumped.

“Under the Biosecurity Act 2014, it is an offence to keep, feed, move, give away, sell or release regulated invasive animals into the environment and penalties of up to $71,875 may apply for keeping restricted matter.

“Anyone who suspects they have seen a red-eared slider turtle should take a photo and call Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.”

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Media contact: DAF Media, media@daf.qld.gov.au