PHOENIX (KSAZ) - For the past three days, employees of the Arizona Game and Fish Department have been out on the water at Papago Park near the Phoenix Zoo trapping turtles.
Trap after trap, the biologists remove all non-native species.
They say every year people who want to get rid of their turtles drop them off here, thinking it'll be a safe place for them. But these non-native species are choking out native species.
They've been trapping turtles here every year since 2007.
"If you look in here you see a bunch of turtles, so you're going to think turtles do really well here, and in fact non-native turtles do incredibly well here. But unfortunately what we're supposed to have here is the Sonoran mud turtle and of the 882 turtles captured since we started, two individuals have been Sonoran mud turtles," said Christina Jones.
Once the turtles are collected, they're marked and cataloged. They're then taken to a few different rescues in the valley.
Getting rid of the non-native turtles makes for a safe ecosystem for the native turtles to thrive in.