Perth Zoo Western Swamp Tortoise have gone where no Western Swamp Tortoise has gone before.
Ongoing efforts to help save the Critically Endangered tortoise have been taken to a new level, with anew assisted colonisation trial that recently took place in WA’s south-west.
25 Western Swamp Tortoises bred at Perth Zoo have been released at reserves in Meerup, south of Northcliffe and east of Augusta to explore alternate habitats for Australia’s most endangered reptile as the temperature warms.
This was the first time that this incredibly rare species has been moved south of its historic range on the Swan coastal plain.
Department of Parks and Wildlife senior research scientist Dr Gerald Kuching said that habitat modelling suggests that without remedial action for the small and isolated reserves utilised by this species, they are in danger of becoming unsuitable by 2050 due to the warming climate.
The Western Swamp Tortoises who have been released will be monitored in collaboration with the University of Western Australia and WA Parks and Wildlife. Growth rates of the tortoises that have been released will be recoded and compared to the results from those 11 tortoises released at an existing location at Moore River Nature Reserve. This will help determine the suitability of the southern sites.
This translocation is a vital part of the Western Swamp Tortoise Recovery Program, undertaken by the Department of Parks and Wildlife and supported by the Perth Zoo.
Author: Kieran Parkes – Media & Communications Officer