August 30, 2018 Joshua Bartlett This turtle was rescued from a Luddenham dam earlier this year. Picture: Turtle Rescues NSW A wildlife advocate has expressed concerns over the future of local turtle colonies due to the rising number of developments in Macarthur. Over the past week, WIRES volunteers have worked tirelessly to rescue nearly 500 long-necked turtles that were discovered in two dams on the Four Lanterns Estate lifestyle village in Leppington. Turtle Rescues NSW spokesman Shane Davies praised WIRES for its efforts but said more needed to be done to protect turtles with so many developments happening around the area. "WIRES are good people and kind-hearted but they are not trained for proper dam rescues. There should have been trained professionals on site at Leppington,” he said. “A lot of dams around the area have been drained and developed on so turtles have migrated away looking for new dams. “You can never estimate how many turtles are in a dam. You might not see any on top but you don’t understand what’s at the bottom.” Mr Davies said the turtles had been left with “nowhere to go” and that was how they were discovered in the Leppington dams. “There might have been 500 turtles rescued last week, but another 1000 might have died while migrating there,” he said. Two of the long-necked turtles that were rescued from a Leppington dam last week. Picture: WIRES Turtle Rescues NSW was formed about five years by Mr Davies and Catherine Field resident Kane Durrant, with the organisation mainly based in the Camden and Liverpool areas. Mr Davies called on Camden Council to make developers accountable when they drained local dams. He said Turtle Rescues NSW had worked with neighbouring Liverpool Council to make tighter restrictions for development applications. “We are working with Liverpool Council to make sure the developers are doing the right thing,” Mr Davies. Mr Davies said there were a lot of turtles in Macarthur that could be found in “big bodies of water” like rivers and streams. He said local turtles could be under threat if they didn’t find suitable migration spots in Macarthur. “The turtles will become roadkill or they could die through other means,” Mr Davies. “There has been a decrease in turtle numbers in recent years but that is mainly due to foxes taking their eggs. “You’ll mainly find only older turtles have survived in this area.” These turtles were found in a dam along Camden Valley Way in January.