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Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife project to save Murray River Turtles

April 5, 2017 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email

Over 40% of worldwide turtle species are at risk of extinction, making them the most vulnerable group of animals to inhabit the earth. Currently there is a fear that the freshwater turtles in the Murray River are silently being wiped out. The population of these beloved and vulnerable creatures has dropped by more than 90% over the past 40 years, and this decline doesn’t show signs of slowing down. According to Dr Ricky Spencer, without dramatic intervention, the native turtle species within the Murray River will be extinct by the end of the 21st century.

The Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife has joined forces with several project partners including leading scientist and researcher including Dr Ricky Spencer. Together they are supporting a three-year research project to prevent the decline of turtle species within the Murray River.

By integrating modern research with historical evidence accumulated over the past 40 years, the Murray River Turtle project aims to develop a range of conservation management plans that make a real impact on ground and test innovative systems to reduce fox predation. It must be noted that turtles in this ecosystem constitute the second largest vertebrate biomass in the river and are crucial in securing sustainability of the ecosystem.

The Murray River plays an imperative role in the livelihood and wellbeing of millions of Australians and wildlife alike, and is as a resource of social, economic and environmental value. If this issue is not managed, these reptiles will die out, directly affecting the ecology of the Murray River.

FNPW is calling on all Australians to support the ongoing funding of this project. FNPW has established a fundraising campaign to raise crucial funds to further support on ground efforts to make sure that these ancient creatures survive into the future. FNPW is a not for profit conservation organisation on a mission to protect Australia’s ecosystems and native species for generations to come.

Sadly, the plight of these freshwater turtles is a common one. Many Australian native animals are facing extinction from the same threats that the turtles are struggling to adapt to – climate change, changes to their natural habitat, disease and introduced predators. Their best chance is through conservation management plans developed by experienced scientists and researchers from on-ground projects like the turtle project.

Turtles have plodded through 220 million years of natural selection, and have emerged as a great evolutionary survivor. However, it is human intervention that has caused this dramatic decline in the turtles occupying the Murray River. With the vast majority of environmental issues caused by human impact it is time for humans to make a positive impact. The Murray River project aims to rectify our actions, and secure the future of these ancient creatures to give them the very best chance at survival.

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