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The Manning River turtle is one of Australia's most endangered reptiles and is only capable of living in the upper Manning River catchment on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales.
A conservation group called Aussie Ark established a breeding program for this turtle back in 2018. In early November 10 juvenile turtles were released back into the wild after being rescued from forest fires back in 2020 - this was a first for the group.
According to Good News Network, these young turtles hatched from eggs at a monitored nest in the path of 2020 Australian wildfires and were rescued by the program’s volunteers. Director Tim Faulkner called the day when the individuals were released back into nature a “monumental, historical day” that was a “very special day for these turtles.”
“This is what the program is all about; rescuing an endangered species and getting them back to the wild,” he told national news. “Getting to see them swim off into the river is not a sight I will soon forget.”
Sadly, many of the female turtles are taken by foxes when they come on land to lay eggs and as a result, there are almost no juvenile individuals in the wild. Before Aussie Ark released the young turtles back into the wild, the river was monitored for months in order to find the optimal mix of food and nesting habitat.
Soon, these 10 individuals will be joined by another 10 turtles hatched between March and April this year. Aussie Ark hopes to be able to release many more as their breeding program expands.
Picture: Aussie Ark