The Friends of Ravenscourt Park report that someone has unfortunately released terrapins into the lake at Ravenscourt Park. If they are allowed to grow they can bite off a child’s finger – as well as biting off the legs of ducks and harming other wildlife.
The Parks Manager tells me:
“Parks Police, as promised at the friends’ AGM made contact with the Barnes Wetland Centre who in turn advised that terrapins are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This means if we do manage to catch it we cannot kill it but will need to arrange for it to be taken to a suitable centre. A bigger job is going to be catching a small animal in a large pond. Terrapins are not easy to catch so this will need to be an ongoing aim.”
I’m afraid that really isn’t good enough, is it?
There was the same problem in Hampstead Heath’s bird sanctuary pond and other ponds on the Heath a few years ago. They have managed to set traps and catch them. It seems it wasn’t always easy – “the Steve McQueen of terrapins” kept tearing away at the chicken wire. But the City of London Corporation (which owns and manages the Heath) persisted. Delay just makes the problem worse.