An unusual discovery was made on the River Maigue on Wednesday, 18th June, by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) officers: a yellow-bellied slider turtle.

The male turtle was found in the tidal waters of the River Maigue at Adare Village. It is native to the South Eastern United States, Florida and Virginia. The reptiles are common as pets and it is likely that this turtle either escaped by accident or was purposefully released. The turtle was in good physical condition and it is likely that it was enjoying the current good weather conditions as they can thrive in warm climates.

Unfortunately, it is now a common occurrence for Fishery Officers to uncover non-native species in our waterways. Problems occur if such species breed and become established, thereby threatening our native plants, animals and ecosystems. Officers brought the turtle to the local animal welfare centre in Killmallock, Co. Limerick. Also, these animals can suffer great hardship and sometimes death in unsuitable habitat and cold weather.

Ms Amanda Mooney, Director at Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) Limerick, stated today: “I urge the public to be more conscious when purchasing exotic species for pets. Escapees or deliberate releases into our natural resources can have detrimental consequences to our biodiversity, especially to our fisheries.”

IFI continue to run a 24 hour confidential hotline where anyone can report any discovery of an alien species – 1850 FISH 24 or 1890 34 74 24.