Turtle found in Yishun with fish hook in its mouth, dies from wound

Lydia Lam Straits Times 6 Jan 17;

SINGAPORE - A turtle that was found in Yishun with a fish hook in its mouth was taken to the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) to be treated, but it died that same day.

Acres highlighted the incident, which happened on Dec 22, in a Facebook post on Friday (Jan 5).

Acres deputy chief executive Anbarasi Boopal told The Straits Times on Saturday that a passer-by had found the turtle in Yishun Avenue 1 in the wee hours of Dec 22.

"The call came in at 2am. The caller said there was a nail sticking out of its mouth, and we realised it was a fish hook. It was taken to Acres and our vet removed the hook, however, the turtle died that same evening," she said.

The turtle was an Asiatic soft-shelled turtle, native to Singapore. They live in freshwater streams, rivers or in reservoirs. However, it is unclear where this particular turtle came from.

"There are a few possibilities. It could be a native turtle from nearby Seletar Reservoir, or it could have been a released or abandoned turtle," said Ms Boopal. "People think they are doing good by releasing them into the sea or a water body, but they might die as they are just suddenly left in an unfamiliar environment."

Ms Boopal said the animal rescue group "increasingly sees a lot of wildlife affected by fish hooks, like monitor lizards, snakes and a lot of turtles".

"We have rescued quite a few red-eared terrapins with fish hooks in their mouths, even box turtles," she said.

She advised members of the public who come across wounded turtles or animals to call Acres at its hotline 9783-7782.

Callers should provide photos if possible and seek advice on what further actions to take. Some turtles may bite, particularly if in pain.

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