Save Our Freshwater Turtles

Turtles in the Murray River are at risk of extinction, with more than 70% less turtles than 40 years ago.

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Photo: Rosie Nicolai

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Save Our Turtles

The Murray-Darling Basin has long been the focus of much debate on how best to manage the resources of a river system that crosses 5 states and territories, is made up of thousands of waterways that connect to the Murray River and is home to many thousands of native animals.

But one species of the Murray River is facing a sharp decline without conservation intervention – freshwater turtles.

The Murray River is home to 3 freshwater turtle species: the Murray short-necked turtle, the Eastern long-necked turtle and the Broad-shelled turtle.

Once prolific, the numbers of young are decreasing. Turtle eggs are defenseless against their main predator - feral foxes.

FNPW is contributing to funding the largest river study of turtles in Australia. Saving the Murray River turtles is a complex challenge, with feral predators, climate change and salinity changes in a fragile ecosystem posing a real threat to turtle survival.

The support of donors like you has made this funding possible. Your generous donation will help us fund this, and future projects to assess and manage threatened species across Australia.

Turtle populations all over the world are in decline with over 40% of freshwater turtle species in danger of extinction.

The Murray River turtles are at the mercy of drought, disease, salinity changes and strain on water resources. With foxes preying on nesting females and their eggs, they face an uncertain future. Researchers have been monitoring increasing turtle deaths in the area for several decades and report up to 90% of turtle eggs are taken by foxes.

The combination of predators and environmental pressures has been almost too much for the turtles.

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. Without our intervention, their future looks bleak.

Your gift will help us continue funding this important project and ensure the ongoing survival of the Murray River freshwater turtles.

This study has already gained considerable insight into the best way to effectively restore and conserve turtle habitat. But it needs ongoing funding to ensure the most effective strategies are adopted to give the Murray River turtles the very best chance at survival.

It is human intervention that has caused this dramatic decline in turtles on the Murray. Let’s make sure human intervention will also save them.

Together, we can give them a future. Please donate today.

Thank you for your commitment to conserving Australia’s native plants and wildlife. We could not do it without you.


Ian Darbyshire
CEO - Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife.

PS - Would you like to know more about the turtle species? Or learn how you get involved in Citizen Science to help this project -  please visit this link.

Photo: Dr Ricky Spancer
Photo: Jeremy Pike
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