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Chinese Turtles Losing Battle With Foreign Turtles

Mr. Lu picked up 27 tortoises in one hour, but three of them died overnight. (Image: Ctdsb.net)
Mr. Lu picked up 27 tortoises in one hour, but three of them died overnight. (Image: Ctdsb.net)

Last month, a man surnamed Lu in Wuhan, Hubei Province, discovered a weird phenomenon during his walk around Liangzi Lake. Large numbers of turtles have appeared on the lake shore in recent days, and most of them have been dead. Other villagers living by the lake have also witnessed this creepy scene, and made wild guesses about the cause—poisoning, disease, or even an earthquake. What is the real cause of this tragedy?

On May 30, Lu took a walk around the lake as usual. He actually picked up 27 little turtles in an hour, but three of them died overnight. Lu reported this to the Chutian Metropolis Daily News. The news reporter walked along the lake shore for about 10 minutes and found seven turtles entangled in water plants and gravel. Five of them were already dead, and their heads and feet had rotted. After viewing the scene, experts said the turtles came ashore and died because of fighting with introduced foreign turtles.

Mr. Lu picked up tortoise on the lake shore. (Image: Ctdsb.net)

Lu picked up another turtle on the lake shore. (Image: Ctdsb.net)

Each year, there is a local festival called the “Releasing Life” Festival. On that day, a lot of people free a turtle into the lake believing it will bring them good luck. The Release Life Day in 2015 fell on May 26. This year, many Brazilian turtles with sharp beaks were mixed in with Chinese turtles when they were being transported in boats for release into the middle of lake. The ferocious Brazilian turtles attacked the Chinese turtles, which caused fierce fighting among them. Many turtles eventually got injured in the fighting.

Tortoise died on shore. (Image: Changjiangtimes.com)

Many turtles died on the shore. (Image: Changjiangtimes.com)

After a large number of injured turtles were released into the lake, the wounds got infected and festered. Some turtles in the lake continued to fight with each other. Many turtles escaped to the shore, but died from infection. This is typical of biological invasions by alien species, which threaten the survival of indigenous species.

The so-called merciful hearts of humans created fighting among the turtles that led to heavy casualties.

 

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