Florida wildlife officials are making a plea that sounds like it belongs in a Monty Python sketch: please stop painting the shells of turtles and tortoises. News agencies across the continent have covered the request, which was initially posted to Facebook about two weeks ago.
“You can paint your house, a piece of furniture, a canvas, or even your own fingernails or toenails, but you should never paint the shells of turtles and gopher tortoises,” officials wrote on the MyFWC page. “While to you it may seem harmless, painting the shells of turtles and tortoises can severely compromise their health — the paint can hinder their ability to absorb vitamins they need from the sun, cause respiratory problems, allow toxic chemicals into the bloodstream and more.”
This comes in a year when the world has seen animals killed while people take selfies with them, baby animals taken out of their habitat for misplaced worry, and an increase in deaths of wildlife because of human behaviour in our national parks.
When The Fur-Bearers learns of these types of conflict, we try to find solutions that would be ideal for each scenario. But there are things we can do in all of these cases: report irresponsible behaviour we see, and educate our friends and family.
We can work together, as communities, to have a world where we truly co-exist.