Terrified turtles evacuated from Christchurch
Last updated 05:00 09/03/2011
More than 40 traumatised Christchurch turtles have been airlifted to the National Aquarium in Napier.
The turtles, which were in the care of "turtle lady" Donna Moot, survived the quake, but their tanks were smashed.
One turtle was lucky to avoid injury after its leg was jammed between two pieces of glass.
"The turtle had a calcium deficiency, so I think the fact its bones were quite soft saved it," Moot said.
Moot, who runs Turtles Rescue and Rehoming, had 12 turtles in tanks inside her house when the quake struck, and a further 30 in the back garden.
"When it happened, I was in my garage and thrown to the ground and couldn't get up," she said.
"When I managed to get inside, the big tank in the lounge exploded, splashing 180 litres of water straight up. It was all over the ceiling, the carpet and the floor. One tank emptied 300 litres into a bedroom."
With help from Chris Burne, of Hot House Turtles, Moot managed to move the turtles to Auckland on Friday, before they were transferred to Napier.
Before they were sent north, the turtles shared a tank for an hour a day, but spent most of their time in plastic containers.
Since the quake, Moot has taken in 16 new turtles.
Another Christchurch woman is taking in refugee fish.
Federation of New Zealand Aquatic Societies president Jennifer Hamlin said she had already received about 300 fish, which were now swimming in bins in her garage.
She urged anyone with problems with their fish to check www.fnzas.org.nz.