Monday, 23 April 2018

Researchers forced to sell chocolates to save Queensland 'punk' turtle from extinction


Recovery plan for threatened Mary river turtle and other species drafted in 2013 but never approved

Thu 19 Apr 2018 02.12 BSTLast modified on Thu 19 Apr 2018 07.14 BST

Conservationists trying to save the Mary river turtle have had to resort to selling turtle chocolates and soliciting donations from the United Arab Emirates to try to help save the endangered reptile from extinction.

And a Mary river catchment committee that developed a recovery plan for the turtle and four other Mary River species has been waiting years for the federal government to approve the finished plan, which is in draft form and awaiting official sign-off.

It comes after Guardian Australia revealed that the endangered turtle species, which is found only in the Mary River in Queensland, did not have a recovery plan in place to protect it from extinction and it was unclear whether any federal funds had been specifically allocated toward its protection.

The turtle attracted worldwide headlines last week for its green mohawk and listing at 29th place on a list of the most vulnerable reptile species compiled by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Charles Darwin University researcher Marilyn Connell is among a group of volunteers with the Tiaro Landcare group that have tried to raise funds for the turtle’s protection.
The group’s work is focused on protecting turtle nests from predators, funding scientific research into the species, and trying to raise its public profile.

Connell said the group had received some funding in the past through federal grants they had applied for but currently received no government funding.

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