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RTL Today – Invasive species: 72 turtles captured and euthanized in the Rëmerschen nature reserve

By on May 13, 2022 0

The Ministry of the Environment confirmed that a number of turtles had been captured with “turtle traps” and euthanized in the “Haff Réimech” nature reserve near Remerschen.

Environment Minister Joëlle Welfring answered a parliamentary question from pirate MP Marc Goergen, confirming that 72 turtles had been put to sleep by a veterinarian. Tiago de Sousa of the Nature and Forest Agency explained that the turtles “trachemys scripta”, or pond sliders, were considered an invasive alien species that posed a threat to local flora and fauna, such as the great crested newts .

An EU regulation means local authorities have an obligation to take action against these species, de Sousa added.

The Ministry of the Environment, following consultations with the Nature and Forests Agency and the Luxembourg veterinary association, agreed that the turtles should be captured and put to sleep humanely.

Invasive species are among the top 5 reasons for biodiversity loss. Pond turtles are particularly tricky, as they are omnivores and therefore pose a threat not only to aquatic plants, but also to fish and invertebrates, including the endangered crested newt.

De Sousa explained that it was not always possible to move animals to sanctuaries due to limited capacity, as it could mean that private owners would then not have the option of donating their own pets. The ministry suspects that the turtles’ initial presence in Remerschen was due to the creatures being released into the wild by previous owners and then reproducing.

It was not possible to relocate the turtles in this case, de Sousa added, due to the high numbers and the fact that the lifespan of such a turtle can exceed 30 years.

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