Parkgoer saves two dozen turtles from brazen poachers
Prospect Park was nearly ‘shell’ on Earth for these reptiles.
Over two dozen turtles skirted certain death when a Good Samaritan saved them from four poachers luring them out of Prospect Park Lake — near Park Circle on the Parkside Avenue side, according to local animal advocates and a city Parks Department spokeswoman.
The women were bagging the turtles around 1:30 p.m. on May 3 when the parkgoer, Marty Bast, approached, told them to stop, and notified Park Enforcement Patrol and NYPD officers, the animal advocacy group W.I.L.D. for Prospect Park wrote on its Facebook page.
The women successfully lured 27 turtles — and packed them up in nine bags — before they were stopped.
Parks Patrol officers slapped one of the women with a $1,000 fine, according to the Parks spokeswoman. The other three managed to slip away before cops arrived.
It wasn’t clear what the hunters had planned for the turtles — red-eared sliders, box turtles and painted turtles — but it likely included a stove top and boiling water.
It is illegal to remove or harm animals in city parks, according to the Parks spokeswoman.
Violators can face fines of up to $4,000.
“You can’t poach the turtles,” Mary Beth Artz, a member of W.I.L.D. for Prospect Park, told CBS. “Poaching means you’re taking them out.”
The Parks spokeswoman said the department isn’t aware of any previous turtle-poaching incidents at the park.
Members of the group also discovered that a domestic duck that had been living in the lake went missing around the same time as the turtle-poaching incident. They said they’re uncertain whether the women had taken the duck, but “the timing is right.”