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Trial to protect turtles

Tuesday 12 October 2021
Freshwater turtle populations in some parts of the Murray River have declined by up to 90 per cent, with fox predation on turtle eggs one of the most significant threats to the iconic river dwellers.

Foxes are believed to be destroying large numbers of eggs before they hatch, meaning many of the older turtles in our rivers, creeks and billabongs may not effectively reproduce.

It leaves the animals facing a troubled future with fears for their survival over the long term.

At AlburyCity’s Wonga Wetlands, we’re trialling a simple method of protecting turtle eggs, in the hope that it may provide long-term hope.

Our crews have created a wire mesh barrier on a sandbank which is known to be a popular place for turtles to place their eggs. The mesh is open at ground level, which means turtles can enter but it’s hoped foxes will be deterred by the risk of becoming trapped under the wire.

We’re closely monitoring the site to see whether any nests have been disturbed.

We’re also using flashing lights at night in the hope that foxes will associate the lights with humans, and steer clear of the area.

If the trial works, it may provide opportunities to limit the decline of turtles, but a much wider approach will be needed across the Murray Basin to give these remarkable animals a fighting chance.