Turtles with swastikas daubed on shells found swimming around picturesque lake
Two turtles have been removed from a lake after swimming around with swastikas painted on their shells.
The reptiles were spotted last Tuesday at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park in Renton, Washington State, US, but were only recovered yesterday, according to Renton Police.
It has been confirmed that the species is not native to the lake and the turtles were left in the park on purpose.
The shocking discovery has sparked outrage among the locals and prompted a rally against hate at the park over the weekend.
The Anti-Defamation League Pacific Northwest tweeted on Thursday: "Two turtles were spotted with their shells painted with what appear to be swastikas in bright, think lines at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park.
"This inhumane and offensive act has no place in our community."
Chad Cashman-Crane, one of the rally organisers, told Renton Reporter that the march is to demonstrate against a cross-section of issues – treatment of wildlife in public parks and hate symbols.
He said: "We hope as a community people will show up and strongly say this isn’t OK.
"[The rally is] about coming out and standing up for our parks, wildlife and against hate."
The turtles will have their shells conditioned and placed in a safe environment, said Renton Police.
Some local residents claimed the turtles have been in the lake for years and suggested that the turtles were part of a family.
Cindy Jaeger explained: "There were a total of 4 of them sunning on the log this summer. The other 2 were smaller.
"Looked like a family. The 2 you rescued have been at the lake for a few years now."
Wildlife officials in Florida state warned of people not to paint the shells of turtles after similar incidents happened in local parks in 2016, reported USA Today .
The paint can harm the turtles' ability to absorb vitamins from the sun and cause respiratory problems.
It's also possible that the toxic chemicals from the paint to get into the turtles' bloodstream.
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