Last week, information emerged that turtles that had lived there peacefully for years had disappeared from the public pond in Dubrovnik's Gradac Park. Many theories emerged, some thought the animals had been sold, some others guessed that they had been killed and there were even theories that they had been cooked in a turtle soup. However, these social media theories were, as they often are, just speculation and hot air.
Instead of being stolen in the night the turtles have in fact been relocated to the Zoo in Zagreb. The Society for the Protection of Animals in Dubrovnik and the City of Dubrovnik both confirmed that the turtles were relocated as they are one of the most invasive species of turtles, red-eared turtles, and in fact are dangerous for the rest of the wildlife in the pond.
“We received five red-eared turtles from the Gradac Park in Dubrovnik in June at the Zagreb Zoo. We agreed with the Public Institution for Management of Protected Areas of Nature of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, with which we are cooperating on the project of protection and research of river turtles,” stated says Ivan Cizelj, curator for fish, amphibians and reptiles at the Zagreb Zoo.
“The red-eared turtle is an animal species that is on the list of invasive species of the European Union. Due to the fact that it endangers indigenous animal species, it is possible to euthanize individuals found in nature, but we try to save every healthy individual as long as we have the capacity to do so,” said Damir Skok, director of the Zagreb Zoo.