Poachers poached! Turtle-nappers nabbed in Prospect Park, reptiles rescued

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It’s a snapper keeper!

A good Samaritan rescued more than two dozen turtles from poachers who were snatching the reptiles out of a Prospect Park lake on May 3, saving the lives of the animals that had been bagged up and prepared for delivery to who knows what.

The savior spotted a group of five women “luring” the turtles out of the water near Park Circle on the Parkside Avenue side of the lake and stepped in to stop them, members of the animal advocacy group Wild for Prospect Park’s reported on their Facebook page, calling the cops, who slapped one of the women with a $1,000 fine for her crime against reptiles.

Four other women fled, according to the website Bklyner, which first reported the story.

It is illegal to kill or harm animals in the park, according to parks spokeswoman Maeri Ferguson (well, illegal unless you are a federal agent called on to slaughter geese).

The women had bagged 27 of the creatures — including red-eared sliders, painted turtles, and box turtles, which officials later released into the lake, where they paddled off to safety, said the green space rep.

Ferguson didn’t know what the hunters had planned for the turtles, but all three species are popular as pets and can also be used in a variety of dishes including turtle soup, deep fried turtle nuggets, turtle stew, and turtle etouffe, making chelonian advocates even more thankful for their liberation.

“We are beyond grateful to park staff, [park] officers and NYPD for their quick response in saving these turtles,” said Mary Beth Artz, who is a member of Wild for Prospect Park.

But not everyone may have escaped the ladies’ clutches — a domestic duck looked after by animal supporters who had been dumped into the lake was missing around the same time as the incident, and Wild for Prospect Park fears that it may have been taken by the turtle thieves.

The Parks Department isn’t aware of any past poaching in meadows, but Artz said she has come across people trying to take turtles out of the water during her community group’s monthly lakeside cleanups and called authorities.

The animal-loving group hopes the episode will help raise awareness of poaching in parks that will put a stop to the practice once and for all.

“We are hoping this incident results in more visible enforcement in the park which will help put an end to these illegal activities,” read the Wild for Prospect Park post.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 12:42 pm, May 11, 2017
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Reasonable discourse

Gerry Valentine from western New Jersey says:
I bet these women were Asian immigrants.
A relative of mine caught Viet immigrants doing something similar in a park in St. Pete, FLA.
Immigrants must really learn the American way of life especially when it comes to respect for animal life. Their friends/relatives who have been in this county longer have to increase their efforts to help them fit in.
May 11, 2017, 9:23 am
johnny from billburg says:
hee hee...
May 11, 2017, 2:17 pm
Jack from Park Slope says:
Soon as I saw the shopping bags I knew it was the Chinese. Quality-of-life is rapidly declining in part to the Asian immigration issue. lllegal home conversions and overcrowding are just the appetizer the entrée has yet to arrive. Bon appétit
May 11, 2017, 2:53 pm
Mike Noblon from Park Slope says:
"The American way of life especially when it comes to respect for animal life." Ha! Ha! Ha!

That's a good one! Perhaps the assumed Viet perpetrators remember the American way of life includes dropping Napalm bombs on forests rich with 'animal life' including the human animal.

Good things those turtles don't fly, or they'd be gassed by now!
May 11, 2017, 5:13 pm
jim jimminy from fort greene says:
deep gratitude to the good samaritan! we all need to protect our precious parks and wildlife. I assure you that whoever perpetrated this knew full well that it was illegal. You're kidding yourself if you think otherwise.
May 12, 2017, 12:57 pm
RL from Flushing says:
I live in Flushing, a neighborhood absolutely overrun with Asian immigrants who spit and defecate on the street, tear down old stately homes and erect steel monstrosities creating urban blight, and pack 5 families into a single family apartment. I'm not surprised it was Asians stealing the turtles. They have no shame or sense of decorum.
May 13, 2017, 9:31 am
Ruth from Brooklyn Heights says:
Yes, it was clearly Asians who planned to eat them or grind their shells to make magic Chinese erection powder. They're probably here illegally too.
May 15, 2017, 2:58 am
Winnie Wong says:
So what if these poachers are Asian?!? Don't act like you never saw a delicious turtle in a public park and wanted to steal it, grind it up, and make potency powder to help you perform in the bedroom?!?
Clearly this is common behavior! Case in point, all the turtles have been stolen from the parks of Shanghai!
May 15, 2017, 7:57 am
Inquiring Mind from Sunset Park says:
Where is the comment from the Bensonhurst fellow who defends all actions of the local Asians?
May 15, 2017, 10:39 am
Fellow from Bensonhurst says:
This activity is not exclusive to one group of people. We have seen many other people engage in this activity as well.
PLEASE-NO DEROGATORY COMMENTS blaming one group. There is enough hatred out there. Please be kind.
Let's focus on keeping the wildlife safe from all who engage in this activity all around the world.
May 15, 2017, 12:33 pm
Really? says:
Fellow - seriously, when has any non-asian ever stolen turtles from the park?
You're in fantasy land. Only they want them, and are unscrupulous enough to steal them.
May 16, 2017, 5:42 am
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
In Leif Ericson park recently there were several ladies filling multiple bags with dandelion leaves they were harvesting -- though I guess that could be considered a good deed!
May 16, 2017, 7:49 am
Fellow from Bensonhurst says:
@Really?-seriously a bigot !
May 16, 2017, 12:07 pm

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