Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Turtles found smashed in West Campus

Alex Luevano
A turtle sits on a rock at the UT Turtle Pond on September 28, 2023.

Content warning: This article contains mentions of animal cruelty.  

Two turtles were found fatally harmed on Sept. 24 in West Campus near the intersection of Rio Grande Street and 25th Street. 

“I was walking down 25th Street to go run an errand, and as I was walking down, I saw a huge boulder by the Delta Gamma house,” advertising sophomore Maggie Cragar said. “I was like, ‘Oh, that’s kind of strange. It’s in the middle of the sidewalk,’ but I didn’t think too much of it.”

Cragar said she could spot a turtle next to the large rock as she walked closer, which looked like it had been struck by the rock.

“I filed one police report with (the) Austin Police Department, and then I filed one with the UT Police Department,” Cragar said. “They both seem genuinely concerned.”

A few social media posts about the incident said two deceased turtles were at the scene, with the second found on a bed of rocks on the Delta Gamma property. Both appeared to be smashed.

“We have provided any information we have to the appropriate authorities,” Delta Gamma president Gracie Quin said in a message, noting that the sorority followed up with the animal cruelty officers after the incident.

It’s unconfirmed where the turtles came from, said David Hillis, professor of integrative biology and director of the Biodiversity Center. Hillis said the campus pond turtles are unmarked and a species native to Texas, meaning they’re commonly found in Austin. 

“We have no reason to suspect that the turtles were taken from our ponds and no way of identifying them if they were,” Hillis said.  

Hillis said the last incident he can recall involving people enacting noticeable harm against the campus turtles was roughly 20 years ago. 

“Certainly, we hope that people respect our turtles, and an act of animal cruelty is a crime,” Hillis said.

Detectives are conducting a follow-up investigation into the incident, according to the Austin Police Department’s public information office.

“As this is an ongoing investigation, no further information is currently available,” Sadot Azzúa, a senior public relations communications specialist for the Austin Public Information Office, said in an email.

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About the Contributor
Alex Luevano, Associate Photo Editor
Alex is a four year RTF major from San Antonio, TX. He is currently an Associate Photo Editor at the Texan.