Drought Threatens Turtles Abandoned at San Jose Park

The drought is threatening the lives of some reptiles in the South Bay, so an unusual distress call is being issued at the San Jose waterway where people have illegally dumped their pets for decades: Save the turtles.

The persistent dry conditions are drying up ponds at Overfelt Gardens Park.

In a normal year, the Santa Clara Valley Water District would fill the evaporating ponds, helping to keep alive the turtles, many of which are not native to California.

But, because of the drought, the ponds are a low priority.

There is now a push to display more signs in the area, showing visitors it's illegal to dump animals there.

"I'm hoping that animal lovers in San Jose can help put pressure on the authorities,” said Tiffany Namwong, who’s working to save the turtles.

San Jose City Parks Manager Mike Will told the Mercury News the city is in talks with water department and state officials to come up with alternatives to letting the non-native turtles die off when the last pond goes dry.

Turtle lovers also hope non-profits will help put the turtles up for adoption, or find new ponds.

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