Terrapin Tragedy

(Another example of my work, this time a report for a children’s newspaper)

At an Italian reserve, hundreds of terrapins are dying because of over-crowding. What was supposed to be a sanctuary for unwanted reptiles has now become a threat to Italian wildlife.

Non- native terrapin are escaping into the countryside in Tuscany, where they can create a conservation crisis. The delicate eco-system can be damaged by these creatures that should not be living there.

Until recently the sanctuary, 90 miles from Pisa, received £25 for every creature rescued, calling it a home for life. It claimed the reptiles would swim in lakes fed by warm water from volcanic rock. Sadly this was not the case: the sanctuary’s pools were found to be too small and without adequate filtration.

The problem arose after the director; Donato Ballasina was evicted for breaking the tenancy rules for the land on which the sanctuary is situated.  An independent ecologist who visited the site said, “The whole thing is bizarre and worrying.”

Native species have now been rescued by the Italian authorities, but hundreds of others remain, with no plan of action yet in place to save them. Marco Zuffi, of Pisa’s Museum of National History said, “There was no timetable for cleaning up the sanctuary.”

August 2011

(Written for children’s newspaper First News)

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One Response to Terrapin Tragedy

  1. pommepal says:

    How sad that a good deed should go so horribly wrong

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