European pond turtle rescued at the Viktor Lenac Shipyard
The large amounts of rain that fell during the night between Sunday and Monday caused torrents throughout the broader Rijeka region. On Monday morning all kinds of things could be found on the grates of storm-water channels and drains. In the Kostrena region, the torrent waters of Draški Creek, located in the vicinity of Viktor Lenac Shipyard, carried an unexpected guest into the shipyard’s electrical plant. At the water discharge pipe, the workers of the shipyard found an unfamiliar turtle, similar to a land turtle but with tiny yellow spots and webbed feet. Maja Kriška, head of the Environmental Protection Dept., took care of the turtle and notified Public Institution “Priroda”. Upon examining the animal, the “Priroda” workers established that the turtle was a European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis), an indigenous fresh-water species. The pond turtle is on the Croatian Red List of Threatened Reptiles and is classified as a strictly protected species according to the Regulation on Strictly Protected Species. It is primarily threatened by habitat degradation and fragmentation due to urbanization and water course regulation, but also by the introduction of the invasive red-eared slider. As the pond turtle has never been noted in Draški Creek, this is a very important fact in monitoring this threatened species in Croatia. The “Priroda” workers returned the adult, male pond turtle to the upstream, undeveloped part of Draški Creek. In that wilderness, not far from the town, the turtle should be able to find everything it needs for a peaceful life.