Quick update on the ‘Beast of the River Lea’. Earlier this month, we reported on the disappearance of wild birds in the east London river, attributed to some unseen force of nature. A long, long list of possible aquatic felons has been investigated. ‘Experts’ have blamed pretty much everything that lives on or near water, with the possible exception of Matthew Pinsent. But the culpability seems to have settled on something called the ‘alligator snapping turtle’. These reptiles can grow up to 2 metres long, and get through more wildfowl than Henry VIII at a Christmas banquet.
It must be tempting to leave it be. Such an exotic animal could easily be turned into a tourist attraction. But the local authorities no doubt watched Lake Placid the other night and decided that the giant turtle has to be evicted:
…it can live up to 100 years and if you do a rough calculation about how much wildlife it could take out in a hundred years - well that's quite a few birds and fish from the Lea Rivers who could feel the full force of it.
That from Mark Gallant, of the Lea Rivers Trust. His team have been attempting to lay traps, complicated, it seems, by tricky summer tides. He promises that, if it's caught, a good home will be found for the creature in a wildlife park. Otherwise, sounds like turtle soup:
It's really got to go - otherwise it too may come to a sticky end.