CARER: Paula Rowlands
CARER: Paula Rowlands

Wildlife takes a battering on our roads

THE heartless death of a turtle witnessed on our roads this week is a reminder that we all need to slow down this time of year, Gympie wildlife carer Paula Rowlands said.

Turtles are nesting and they're on the move this season, she said, meaning the slow-moving creatures are crossing roads to get from one water source to another.

Gympie woman Tabatha Tihomirov was infuriated when she saw a car deliberately run over one on the Tamaree side of Old Maryborough Rd at the weekend.

She took to the Gympie Information and Advice Facebook page to vent her anger at the driver, who she said was following closely behind her when she moved over to miss it but failed to do the same.

"RIP poor turtle," she wrote of the animal that she said was on the edge and close to making it to the other side. "I went back after I saw you run him over and took him to the vet, so the vet could put him to sleep instead of him taking hours to die a slow painful death on the cold road."

Many people responded to the Facebook post, saddened and angered by the driver's actions, and telling of the near misses of turtles they had had on the roads lately.

Wildlife carer Paula Rowlands said she has taken in about seven turtles in the past few weeks that have been injured on the roads.

She urges people who come across an injured turtle, or any animal, to stop. If the animal is still alive it should be taken to a vet or wildlife carer so it can be treated or put down humanely, she said.

Mrs Rowlands said the amount of pain the animal is in can be deceiving due to their stillness.

"Their biggest fear is predators; so when they are injured they remain silent. It's just a natural protection for any wildlife."

She said turtles in particular may have severe internal injuries that are undetectable.

"If they've flipped a few times it can be like going through a washing machine," Mrs Rowlands said, comparing it to people being in a car accident.

But the carer, who currently cares for about 60 animals at her Glastonbury home, said there is hope for turtles that have been hit by a car.

She said if the turtle's legs are moving, it means their spine is not broken, and even cracks in their shells can be healed over time by using stainless steel plates.

She said it is best to wrap a damp towel around a turtle when transporting it if it has a cracked shell.

RSPCA Qld spokesperson Michael Beatty said any injured wildlife can be taken to a vet free of charge.

If it is safe, he advises using a blanket to pick up animals and to check if the injured animal is carrying young.

He said if it is dangerous, to call the 1300ANIMAL hotline to connect to the closest wildlife carer who may be able to help.

If an animal is in severe pain, the police can be called to put the animal down.

But the best ticket to helping the little people is avoiding the carnage in the first place, Mrs Rowlands added.

With the recent rain meaning some young have arrived earlier, there is a lot of movement of native birds and animals around the region.

She urges people to slow down and pay attention.

"People are in too much of a hurry, some of it is malice, but most of it is people just being too busy," she said.

Injured wildlife

Make sure you can stop your vehicle safely

If safe, use a blanket to pick up the animal and place in a box in the car

Check for young with any injured adults

Do not give food or water to animal

Take to closest vet (free of charge)

Call 1300ANIMAL to connect to closest wildlife carer, ANARRA wildlife on 5484 9111 or carer Paula Rowlands on 5484 9220.