Whoever walks this summer by the water in a park in Strasbourg will undoubtedly have the chance to admire the spectacle of turtles sunbathing. “These exotic turtles are the result of abandonment,” explains researcher Jean-Yves Georges, of the IPHP-CNRS, who has been studying them since 2017. “Babies, they fit in a pocket. But they quickly become cumbersome and have the same life expectancy as humans. »
The scientist identified thirteen species, native to North America and Asia. The trade of some has already been banned for 25 years while others come from trafficking. For the time being, Jean-Yves Georges has counted 80 individuals in Strasbourg. “We can’t talk about proliferation yet. But they have been starting to breed for two years, he notes. If nothing is done, their reproduction will accelerate. »
However, neither the quality of the water nor the low level of vegetation and food in urban parks is adapted to them. Added to this are the nuisances caused by walkers, who are delighted to feed and flush them out. “These turtles also threaten our natural heritage,” adds the researcher. They dislodge animals from sunny spaces and compete with them for food. These fearsome predators eat tadpoles, insects, and even ducklings and unbalance the food chain. Based on this scientific research, the ecologist municipality is preparing to launch a call for projects in the coming months. The goal is to sterilize the turtles and find them a dedicated place.