Thriving population of endangered turtle discovered

By Australian Geographic 6 June 2019
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The Manning River helmeted turtle was declared an endangered species in 2017.

A SURVEY OF the rivers of the Manning Valley have revealed a thriving population of the endangered Manning River helmeted turtle.

Researchers with the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) found that there are approximately 275 turtles across 86 sites over a two year period.

OEH are working with the Manning River Turtle Conservation Group to ensure the endangered turtle’s future.

“This is very good news for the species, which has been around for over 55 million years and is the ancestor of virtually all Australian turtles,” says OEH researcher Andrew Steed.

“With great community support, three ecologists in 2018 surveyed the river and its tributaries, including remote areas not previously checked, and found 87 turtles.

“This year’s surveys in March and April found a further 188 turtles at 47 sites, including a new location upstream of Gloucester in the south of the Manning Valley.”

The survey was a part of the OEH Saving Our Species project, in conjunction with 75 landowners who allowed researchers to access the river through their properties.

The Manning River helmeted turtle was declared an endangered species in 2017, when the rapid decline of populations rang alarm bells among scientists and herpetologists.

Predation, poaching, habitat degradation and, potentially, disease, competition and hybridisation are all threats to the endangered turtle.

You can donate today to help save the Manning River helmeted turtle here.

Funds raised will help support the Manning River Turtle Conservation Group’s work in the conservation of the Manning River helmeted turtle.