ON THE MOVE: A husband-and-wife team have saved the lives of more than 100 turtles since Christmas.
ON THE MOVE: A husband-and-wife team have saved the lives of more than 100 turtles since Christmas.

Strange phenomenon: Pair saves more than 100 turtles

IT DIDN’T rain cats and dogs at Atkinson Dam Holiday Park — it rained turtles.

Rain fell long and hard at the caravan park on Christmas Eve, and it has been inundated with the wandering reptiles ever since.

Wendy and Wayne Maher have owned the business for six years but had never seen turtles there until almost 30 made their way through the park at Christmas.

Since then, the husband-and-wife duo have earned a reputation as turtle rescuers.

“On the first day, we got about 27 – they were coming up left, right and centre,” Mrs Maher said.

The Mahers loaded up their car with that first load of shelled visitors and drove them 20 minutes to a new home with plenty of water.

Since that day, the pair estimate they have saved more than 100 turtles from dehydration, traffic and predators.

“It was so sad, because if you don’t get there (in time), the crows and magpies will get them and flip them over to kill them,” Mrs Maher said.

“So you find quite a few shells.”

Referring to herself and her husband as “animal lovers”, Mrs Maher said the they mostly found the creatures on the move in the late afternoon and evening.

“There’s a small puddle down towards the Lowood end, there’s heaps still down there apparently,” she said.

“You even get them walking along the road.”

One evening, the pair went to get pizza and had to pull over twice to collect turtles from the road.

“One had a good two inches of mud caked under his shell,” Mrs Maher said.

She said residents at the holiday park had also started bringing turtles to them so they could return them to water.


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