Funding boost for South West Corridor Development Foundation to save snake-necked turtles

Tyra PetersSound Telegraph
Save turtle project team photo (left to right): Kathleen Broderick – South West Group’s NRM Facilitator, Dr Jane Chambers - NatureLink Perth at Murdoch University, Kingsley Dixon - Lotterywest Board, The Hon Reece Whitby MLA – Minister for Environment, Anthony Santoro – Murdoch University’s Harry Butler Institute, Cr Adin Lang - from the City of Fremantle.
Camera IconSave turtle project team photo (left to right): Kathleen Broderick – South West Group’s NRM Facilitator, Dr Jane Chambers - NatureLink Perth at Murdoch University, Kingsley Dixon - Lotterywest Board, The Hon Reece Whitby MLA – Minister for Environment, Anthony Santoro – Murdoch University’s Harry Butler Institute, Cr Adin Lang - from the City of Fremantle. Credit: Supplied

A citizen science project has received funding to save the declining population of the south-western snake-necked turtle.

The South West Corridor Development Foundation was given $131,700 in Lotterywest funding for the project, which will go towards conservation efforts and training of volunteers, with support of university scientists, and State and local government.

Research from Murdoch University’s Anthony Santoro found that across 35 metropolitan wetlands, there were practically no juvenile turtles due to a number of threats including predators, road strikes and lack of sustainable nesting habitat.

The grant will be used to train volunteers as ‘turtle trackers’ by ecologists from Murdoch University’s Harry Butler Institute, and a new Turtle SAT app will monitor and record the native species.

The SWCDF alliance — made up of councils including the cities of Fremantle, Rockingham and Kwinana — has sought to achieve sustainable long-term management of the natural environment since it was established.

The South West Group’s Natural Resource Management facilitator, Kathleen Broderick, said the funding was a significant step forward in the protection and recovery of the native turtle species.

“The overall goal is to engage our communities and prevent local extinctions of the snake-necked turtle, which would have major ecological impacts,” she said.

“This is another positive step forward to updating the 25-year-old ‘near-threatened’ status.”

Environment Minister Reece Whitby said it was a “fantastic initiative” that brings together volunteers, community organisations, traditional owners, State and local governments.

“The project is embracing modern technology, with the Turtle SAT app enabling and empowering volunteers to provide feedback electronically,” Mr Whitby said.

“In the short and long-term, these population surveys will contribute to the monitoring, protection and recovery of one of our region’s most vulnerable species.

“I look forward to hearing positive news from this network of ecologists and volunteers about the health of the south-western snake-necked turtle.”

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