Saving turtles could have landed mum with $15k fine

File photo.
File photo.

A NORTH Deep Creek mother did not see herself as an environmental vandal when her son and nephew brought home two turtles they had found injured by fish hooks in a nearby waterway.

"I told them to remove the fish hooks and get rid of the turtles outside," Elizabeth Joyce Matthews told the court.

She came close to paying not only a major fine but a legislated "conservation value" or $13,399 for one turtle, an endangered species, and $1667 for the other one.

The offences allegedly occurred between August 1 and 13 at North Deep Creek.

She pleaded guilty in the court yesterday to two counts of keeping a protected animal without a permit, after authorities found two turtles in a container under her house.

The turtles were living in inadequate conditions, the court was told.

Mrs Matthews said she did not even know they were there.

Mrs Baldwin said she understood that kids bring all sorts of things home, but the serious matter was that one was an endangered white- throated snapping turtle.

"I told them to get rid of them and they didn't," Mrs Matthews said.

"Kids have been bringing turtles home from creeks since time immemorial," Mrs Baldwin said.

"There are serious penalties for this sort of stuff because looking after the planet and the environment is a concern for us all."

But, she added, it seemed penalties available were "over the top" for this case.

"They're generally for people who go into the forest and steal things deliberately," she said, placing Mrs Matthews on a good behaviour bond of $1800 for six months.

Topics:  editors picks fines gympie court turtle wildlife conservation

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