Turtles in Irving Canal System Eating Ducklings

Valley Ranch residents say turtles outnumber other wildlife in area

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Valley Ranch residents who frequent the canal area have noticed turtles outnumbering and even threatening other wildlife in the area. (Published Monday, May 21, 2012)

    Some Irving residents are worried about baby ducks that are being eaten by turtles in a canal system in Valley Ranch.

    People who frequent the canal said they have noticed the turtles outnumber and threaten other wildlife in the area.

    "There's thousands of turtles out here," said Juan Escobar, who regularly bikes the trail along the canal. "I always wondered why there is such an enormous population of them."

    A.M. Sherbin started protecting ducklings after seeing turtles eat them.

    "The turtles were attacking, and when I saw the little baby get jerked straight into the water, and when it came up, I didn't know baby ducks can make that awful noise," she said. "At that point, I wasn't going to let the turtles rip them apart. I dropped my cane, I kicked my shoes off, and I went in. I chased off the adult ducks, and I started swinging at the turtles, and I got the baby chicks to kind of go this way."

    Escobar said he has noticed fewer ducklings.

    "You don't see any of the ducks around that you see all the time," he said. "The babies are gone."

    Sherbin goes to the canal at least twice a day to protect her little friends and share her $5 loaf of organic sprout bread.

    "The one day that I was ill and couldn't make it, one of the chicks showed up missing," she said.
    "After that, I was determined if I have to crawl down here, I would."

    Jacky Knox, Irving Flood Control District Section III spokesman, said it is natural for the turtles to feed on the ducklings.

    But the department is looking into sending professionals to the area to see if there is an unnatural problem, he said.

    Sherbin and others who frequent the canal say trash builds up throughout the day, creating a stench and making the water hazardous.

    "Even the residents of the apartments have come out trying to get the trash off of the canal," Sherbin said. "But we're missing everything this year. All the wildlife is gone -- no blue herons, no egrets, no turkey ducks, no wood ducks. We even get Canadian geese here. During the summer, they dropped in."

    Valley Ranch residents such as Karen Barrett say they hope changes could be made soon.

    "It makes you sad because you love animals," she said. "You want the turtles to be OK, but there must be some sort of unbalance that needs some sort of human intervention."