De-fence, de-fence to save our tur­tles

The Riverine Herald - - NEWS -

THE pro­tec­tion of en­dan­gered tur­tles in the north­ern part of the re­gion has al­ways been a team ef­fort, none more so than near Long­more’s Lagoon at Gun­bower.

The North Cen­tral Catch­ment Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity has joined forces with Tur­tles Aus­tralia and Ri­d­ley Agriprod­ucts to build a tur­tle breed­ing sanc­tu­ary near the com­pany’s Gun­bower mill.

Land on the mill site next to the lagoon is a pop­u­lar nest­ing spot for broad-shelled tur­tles, the largest of the three species of na­tive tur­tles found in the re­gion. It is also en­dan­gered.

“Ri­d­ley’s has kindly let us fence off a large area of their land so tur­tles can safely come up onto the higher ground and nest, with­out predators such as foxes raid­ing the nests,” NCCMA act­ing project man­ager Amy Rus­sell said.

“The fence is about 400m long and is de­signed with an open side lead­ing onto the lagoon. It is higher than nor­mal, so foxes and other predators can’t jump over it.

“It also has a curved top to stop foxes climb­ing the fence. The bot­tom of the fence con­tains a cur­tain pinned into the ground to stop foxes dig­ging un­der­neath.”

Ri­d­ley Agriprod­ucts op­er­a­tions man­ager Shane Emanuelli said staff were also keen to keep an eye out for any tur­tles, and re­port them to Tur­tles Aus­tralia.

“We are happy to as­sist in any strate­gies to un­der­stand and as­sist an­i­mals and the en­vi­ron­ment to en­sure sus­tain­abil­ity,” he said.

“It has been great work­ing with the North Cen­tral CMA and a real plea­sure to work on this project. Hope­fully we’ll see a lot of baby tur­tles in the area in the fu­ture.”

NCCMA has been work­ing hard to in­crease the num­bers of ju­ve­nile tur­tles in the re­gion, re­cently com­plet­ing a large bait­ing pro­gram in Gun­bower For­est.

Tur­tles Aus­tralia was mon­i­tor­ing the Ri­d­ley site dur­ing the most re­cent nest­ing sea­son and found the fence, along with the bait­ing pro­gram, to be pro­vid­ing the tur­tles with the help they need.

If you see a tur­tle, or ev­i­dence of nest pre­da­tion you can record the sight­ing by down­load­ing the TurtleSAT App, or by vis­it­ing http:// turtlesat.org.au

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