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ON Press: Rare turtle hooked

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Posted by: W von Papinešu at Tue Jul 31 07:35:54 2007  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papinešu ]  
   

WINDSOR STAR (Ontario) 26 July 07 Rare turtle hooked (Jessey Bird)
Twenty-five-year-old Rob Meloche has been fishing since he was old enough to hold a rod. But last Sunday at Lakeshore's Puce River, Meloche caught something he had never seen before.
"The pull was so strong," said the Windsor resident. "I thought it was a really big fish."
Meloche said he was surprised when he instead pulled out a feisty little turtle.
"I (thought) I caught a crazy turtle from Florida or something!'" said Meloche with a laugh. "I was in awe.... I knew it was different because it was flat as a pancake and it had a really long neck."
What Meloche caught was an eastern spiny softshell, a threatened species typically found in the rivers of southern Ontario and southern Quebec.
"They are a fairly shy turtle and they tend to avoid places where there are people or a lot of activity," said Paul Pratt, a naturalist at the Ojibway Nature Centre. Pratt said shoreline development has caused their habitats to diminish and their population to decline.
"We haven't seen one in about two years," said Erie Wildlife Rescue's Audrey McDonald.
McDonald estimated the six-inch-long male turtle is about 12 years old and weighs no more than two pounds. Having hooked it through its mouth and eye, Meloche called Erie Wildlife Rescue for help.
"We need to bring him in and get him checked by a veterinarian to see if he needs antibiotics," said Bonnie Dupuis, treasurer for the wildlife group. After the turtle recovers, Dupuis said they will release him back to where he was found.
"Our job is to fix him up and get him back into his natural habitat," said McDonald. "Besides, it is illegal to keep them."
Though an onlooker offered to buy the turtle, Meloche said he would prefer it be set free.
"I told him he could keep his money," said Meloche with a laugh. "I don't want to be responsible for wiping out a whole species."
Rare turtle hooked


   

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