Shell be right in turtle sanctuary
The North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA) has joined forces with Turtles Australia and Ridley Agriproducts to build a turtle breeding sanctuary near the company’s Gunbower mill.
Land on the mill site next to the lagoon is a popular nesting spot for broad-shelled turtles, the largest of the three species of native turtles found in the region. It is also endangered.
“Ridley’s has kindly let us fence off a large area of their land so turtles can safely come up onto the higher ground and nest, without predators such as foxes raiding the nests,” North Central CMA Acting Project Manager Amy Russell said.
“The fence is about 400 metres long and is designed with an open side leading onto the lagoon. It is higher than normal, so foxes and other predators can’t jump over it.
“It also has a curved top to stop foxes climbing the fence. The bottom of the fence contains a curtain pinned into the ground to stop foxes digging underneath.”
Ridley Agriproducts Operations Manager Shane Emanuelli said staff were also keen to keep an eye out for any turtles, and report them to Turtles Australia.
“We are happy to assist in any strategies to understand and assist animals and the environment to ensure sustainability,” he said.
“This is typically set in our Ridley core values under our Respect value.
“It has been great working with the North Central CMA and a real pleasure to work on this project. Hopefully we’ll see a lot of baby turtles in the area in the future.”
The North Central CMA has been working hard to increase the numbers of juvenile turtles in the region, recently completing a large baiting program in Gunbower Forest.
Turtles Australia was monitoring the Ridley site during the most recent nesting season and found the fence, along with the baiting program, to be providing the turtles with the help they need.
If you see a turtle, or evidence of nest predation you can record the sighting by downloading the TurtleSAT App, or by visiting http://turtlesat.org.au.
The project is supported by the North Central CMA through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.