Turtle's injurers remain wanted

By Imran Ali

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Police in Wellsford are looking for the people who threw a turtle out of a moving car, which may have left it paralysed for life.

The turtle, which was flung out a car window on September 30, may succumb to its injuries, its caregiver fears.

The female red slider-eared turtle, named Lilly, was picked up by three Mangawhai residents on the Whangaripo Valley Rd near Wellsford after they saw it being thrown from a car in front of them. The car had been travelling about 110km/h.

The impact split the turtle's shell and it was bleeding and limping. It was taken to the Wellsford Vets and treated with antibiotics before holes were drilled in its shell to tie wire through and putty put over the crack.

Wellsford police are investigating and have again appealed for information.

Lilly is being cared for by Clarice Ford, of the Turtle Haven Charitable Trust, in Auckland. She had managed to track down the turtle's owners but they surrendered it, saying they would not be able to provide adequate care.

Ms Ford, dubbed the "Turtle Lady", runs the trust from her backyard, rescuing reptiles that have been abused, abandoned or just need a little care.

She believes the car from which the reptile was thrown was travelling at 110km/h, which resulted in it suffering severe injuries. Its split shell could take more than two years to heal.

Ms Ford nursed Lilly, 11, back to health, force-feeding it for three weeks with a syringe and giving it antibiotics. But she fears Lilly may be paralysed for life because of the way it walks.

"The place where her shell was drilled has been infected and she drags her legs behind her while walking and it's not looking good at this stage."

Lilly could live for up to 80 years if it survived, she said.

Information can be passed to Constable John Williams at Warkworth on 09 425 8109.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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