Saturday, October 22, 2011

Turtle's Adventure

A true story written by Paulette Goddu and was sent to me:
"Early morning.....I am sipping my first cup of coffee when  my friend Lynne tells me of an unusual encounter. A small group of men walk along the road and pause at our front gate.They ask Lynne if she would like to buy a turtle for dinner. She does not, but feels compassion for the poor creature. " I wish I had purchased the turtle we could have set it free at our moon party on the beach" ..."it would have been a lovely tribute to Kwan Yin the Goddess of Mercy & Compassion" she says......little did we know this would be the first of many wishes that were to come true that day. A short time later we see the men walking on the road in the opposite direction.They still have the turtle. Now we are eager to buy it. The small group of men ask us if we will eat it.....when we tell them we wish only for her freedom and a safe return to the water they then refuse money. The turtle is a lovely purple gray color with a creamy underbelly. We put her under the shower in our bathroom and cool her off. We add a little salt to a bucket of water and soak some dried shrimp in water for her to eat also a little shredded cabbage. We remember our friend Jeffery who does animal rescue and also Dreamer who is kind and knowledgeable.  We find a large plastic bucket, it is very heavy filled with water and the turtle.  Colin also likes the plan and heaves it into his car and we take her to the moon party with us. There is not much room in the car with all our party supplies and four people but we have made her liberation a priority. After much inspection and discussion and photo taking we leave the turtle in good hands with many assurances from her new expert caretakers. I say goodbye to her and feel oddly touched when I think I detect a reptilian wink. The next day we have good news! She has been set free is a lovely place where the salty ocean co-mingles with fresh water. Now she has the freedom to fulfill her destiny whatever that may be."

That story was after the drama. Where did the turtle go to?


Thank goodness for Jeff who called me before their intention to release it. After a short description of the turtle, I guessed it must be a fresh water turtle and Jeff agreed too. And so, that turtle's freedom was withheld for "further inspection".

After the moon party beach to taste the sand and sea breeze, that turtle spent a night in a bathtub of a lovely maiden's house. On the following day, it was transported again to the river next to a village. ...pssst... thanks Nani

I met up with Jeff and Mandy the next day who got the turtle in a bucket ready to be released. Her freedom was pending until a few photographs and some measurements were taken. I felt its powerful claws when I first picked it up to put it into a bucket. It was massive and that was my first time touching and holding such turtle. The carapace was not hard rock as a tortoise's one. 
Notice the dark median stripe on its carapace? Very likely an adult Malayan Softshell Turtle (Dogania subplana). The length of carapace was about 30cm.


The nose reminded me of a Proboscis Monkey!
Scrambling for its life!


It was back into the bucket so we could carried it next to the river without getting ourselves snap by its powerful jaw.
Ninja Turtle!

Alas, the smell of the fresh water river was irresistible for our turtle friend here. It scrambled very quickly trotting on the soil, nosed in first and then dived into FREEDOM!
Jeff releasing the turtle
Nosed in - Dive...
MERDEKA! (means freedom)


A Malayan softshell turtle (Dogania subplana) is a freshwater turtle which can be found in clear, rocky and shallow streams with sandy bottom. It loves aquatic snails, prawns and crabs as its meals. Be caution when handling softshell turtles for they have powerful jaws that can inflict damage. 

After the whole drama, we met up with Colin who related the similar story and I want to add on a little bits of their conversation with the locals. I giggled over how these ladies managed to obtain the turtle's freedom using their best Malay language. Colin described one of them was saying, "Merdeka, merdeka.." to those local men in order to set the turtle free without having to pay a single cent. Well done, ladies!

Wildlife conservation works best in a team or with a team. Thank you to all involved in this softshell turtle rescue and saving it from the cooking pot. We hope we got the turtle to a better place and good luck in its next adventure!

References:
1. Field Guide to the Reptiles of South East Asia by Indraneil Das
2. Photographic Guide to Snakes, Reptiles of Peninsula Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand by   
    Merel J.Cox

1 comment:

  1. Glad to know that

    Suzanna Chan via fb

    ReplyDelete

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