Through Ivan CAPECCHI
“The parks of the Orangery and the Citadel are invaded by exotic turtles in very large numbers”, indicated, Thursday, June 10, 2021, Marie-Françoise Hamard, municipal councilor responsible for animals in the city.
By “exotic turtles”, understand turtles that are not endemic to the region Alsace.
” There are plenty ! “
Indeed, barely set foot on the edge of the main basin of the Orangerie this Wednesday, that we observe a dozen turtles basking the pill, half immersed in water.
“We see them swimming all the time, there are plenty! », Confirms a mother interviewed that same day.
60 turtles recorded in 2017
In 2017, the Zone Atelier Environnementale Urbaine (ZAEU), an interdisciplinary research device with a regional dimension, published a study on freshwater turtles present in public parks in Strasbourg.
“The parks of La Citadelle and de l’Orangerie welcome a notable diversity of exotic turtles”, noted the document, available at this address.
At the time, the ZAEU had identified “60 individuals, including 41 at the Citadel divided into eight species and subspecies and 19 individuals at the Orangery divided into five species and subspecies (common to those of the Citadel)” .
A problematic presence …
How to explain such a presence? According to Mrs. Hamard, “they are there because they were adopted and then after a while, it grows, it grows, we can no longer take care of them so we abandon them”.
“We released them in the parks, the community has inherited them in spite of itself since it owns these parks,” she quips.
And this is not without posing problems, according to the elected: “It is a friendly but invasive species which, in particular, a very annoying impact on aquatic environments. “
… and solutions that are not necessarily obvious
Consequently, the question of their regulation arises. “One of the possible solutions would be to capture all the individuals little by little and then release them in a basin on the outskirts of the city of Strasbourg so that the turtles can live their lives until their death, without having to euthanize them” , explains to News Strasbourg Mathieu Pichault, employee of the Les Amis du Zoo de l’Orangerie association and deputy director of the zoo.
“It’s just a project. Nothing is done. Before that, it is necessary to know the sterilization techniques, that the city can provide an adequate technical platform, etc. It is a proposal made by the association but among many others ”, adds the one who is also a veterinarian.
In 2017, the ZAEU already pointed out the difficulty of finding a solution to this problem: “Faced with this observation, the Green Space and Nature service of the city of Strasbourg took no action, probably because of contradictory injunctions. : restrictive regulations on European invasions (regulation to prevent and manage the introduction and spread of invasive alien species entered into force on January 1, 2015) conflict with a policy in favor of local urban biodiversity […]. “.
New municipality plans to sterilize turtles
During the conference of June 10, Mrs. Hamard took up the solution mentioned by the association, in a few additional details: “The idea would be to capture these turtles in small groups, to sterilize them and to put them in a basin of convalescence accessible to the public, which would give the opportunity to explain to the public where these species come from, how they live, to organize activities around them ”.
“Then, in groups, they would go back to a sanctuary, a basin that remains to be created, to be found, to spend the rest of their life there because, as you do, it is strictly forbidden to release exotic species that have been welcomed and sterilized”, she added.
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