• Turtles have been around for more than 200 million years
  • Aussie Ark launched the first-ever conservation breeding program for the Manning River turtle
  • Aussie Ark will breed and eventually return a new generation of healthy Manning River turtles into the wild.

Turtles are the dinosaurs of modern days and have been around for more than200 million years. Sadly, the future of many turtle species is threatened byferal predators, habitat destruction and global warming. In Australia, morespecifically in the Barrington Tops region of NSW, the Endangered ManningRiver turtle is more vulnerable than ever, due in part by the 2019-20 bushfirecrisis and severe drought.

Aussie Ark launched the first-ever conservation breeding program for theManning River turtles, hand in hand with the Australian Reptile Park, GlobalWildlife Conservation, the Turtle Conservancy and NSW Environment Ministry.Aussie Ark is committed to building a Manning River turtle insurancepopulation by providing the species with a secure environment where it canthrive and therefore reproduce. Aussie Ark’s Manning River turtle insuranceprogram, is the only in existence for its kind. The program which aims tobreed and release the turtles back to the wild, is their only lifeline. So farthe program has hatched 20 of the endangered turtles, but has big plans forthe future.

“What is extra special about this turtle, is that the Manning River turtle islike the godfather or ancestor of Australian short-necked turtles and isestimated to be over 55 million years old,” said NSW Environment Minister,Matt Kean.

Moreover, the species is endemic to NSW and can be found nowhere else onearth.
Turtles, like the Manning River turtle, play a critical role in our waterway’secosystems, by cleaning up and maintaining the stunning waterways and keepingaquatic vegetation in balance. However, they require clean, flowingsubstantial bodies of water to thrive.

Aussie Ark President Tim Faulkner says: “It is heartbreaking to observe turtlespecies from all over the world, especially in our own river systems, losingtheir habitats – especially knowing that turtles have been on this Earth formillions of years. We can’t sit and watch – we need to take immediate action.”

Through its conservation efforts and specialised breeding facilities, AussieArk wishes to breed and eventually return a new generation of healthy ManningRiver turtles into the wild.

“Our goal is to help return a long-lost balance into our freshwater systems,and overall gorgeous waterways” claims Tim Faulkner.

By removing certain threat variables from the equation – predation by feralfoxes and cats, roaming cattle and polluted waters – Aussie Ark’s breedingprogram gives turtles a higher chance of survival.

In honour of this year’s World Turtle Day, conservation organisation AussieArk, alongside its partners, hope to shed a light on the current issue andcreate a path towards a better and more secure future for the Manning Riverturtles and all turtles. The Manning River turtle project is only possiblethrough partnering with organisations such as the Turtle Conservancy, GlobalWildlife Conservation and NSW Government, as well as project partners SteberInternational, The Happy Wombat, Aus Eco solutions, Manning River Steel andKleinfelder.

About Aussie Ark
As a not for profit organisation, Aussie Ark raises the necessary funds tocontinue its ambitious vision. Investment allows for the construction ofcaptive facilities and predator proof fencing on semi-wild parcels of land.Aussie Ark is a registered environmental organisation and charitableinstitution under the Australian Charity and Not-for-Profit Commission. AussieArk has deductible gift recipient status (DGR status) and is registered forGST purposes. More information at www.aussieark.org.au

Media credited Aussie Ark

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