Skip to main content

MB News

Turtle Incident Puts Polliwog Park Wildlife in the Spotlight

May 25, 2021 10:27AM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Screenshot from a video taken at Polliwog Park by boys who witnessed several adults with turtles in cardboard boxes.

An incident of possible dumping of turtles at Polliwog Park has called into focus the rules about park wildlife in Manhattan Beach.

The incident comes at a time when an increasing number of visitors are drawn to Polliwog - and when the local wildlife are more active. Visitors are being reminded once again to leave the wild birds, turtles, and fish alone - and of course, never to dump or take creatures from the pond.

On Sunday, two boys saw a group of adults with several boxes filled with turtles at the edge of Polliwog Park. (To the left is another screenshot from the boys' video.) Thinking the turtles were being stolen from the park, the boys found a park ranger and reported the incident. 

However, since the people with the turtles had by then disappeared and there was no license plate or identifying information, the police were not able to take any further action.

Furthermore, after police reviewed a video taken by one of the boys, they concluded it was likely that the turtles were being dumped, not taken. In the video, there appears to be about five people with dry clothes and no nets, making it unlikely that they had just collected several dozen turtles from the water.

This incident highlights the importance of calling 911 for an immediate response if you see potentially illegal activity, said Christopher Ineguez, public information officer at the Manhattan Beach Police Department.

Ineguez added that the Manhattan Beach Police Department takes mistreatment of local wildlife very seriously. He said that a few years back there had been an incident where kids were using a turtle as a baseball. The police got involved immediately, parents were involved, and charges were filed, he said. 

Another time, he said, a large turtle was spotted crossing a local road. MBPD officers were able to stop traffic and relocate the turtle safely.

Respecting Environment of Turtles and Other Park Wildlife

Mark Leyman, director of Manhattan Beach's Department of Parks and Recreation, said that the department does not monitor the Polliwog Park turtle population; however, it is illegal to dump turtles in the pond (or to take them out). 

Wildlife professionals warn that a person should never dump a pet turtle in a pond. The pet turtles have grown in a different environment and may not have the ability to survive in the wild. Furthermore, they may bring diseases or parasites to the wild turtles. 

Additionally, it is never appropriate to bring a wild turtle home for use as a pet. Not only is it illegal in many cases, but also most wild turtles have specific needs for nutrition and space that cannot be replicated in a tank and thus do not survive long in captivity.

Turtles generally lay their eggs in early summertime, as the Polliwog Park turtles are beginning to do now, and very few hatchlings survive to full adulthood. For that reason, removing wild turtles from their environment can be harmful to the overall turtle population as well. 

One final note: At a time when more visitors are coming to Polliwog Park, visitors are asked to remember that feeding bread to the ducks and geese is bad for the birds and the water. The waterfowl do not get enough nutrition from bread alone, but if they fill up on it, they will not search for other natural sources of food. Uneaten bread also tends to clog up the waterway, leading to polluted water conditions.

Subscribe to MB News Emails * Don't Miss a Thing, Sign Up Today!

* indicates required
Email Format

Subscribe to MB News Emails * Don't Miss a Thing, Sign Up Today!

* indicates required
Email Format