‘Unusual’ turtle to be declared endangered

ABC AUSTRALIA

The Queensland Government is set to add another species of turtle to the list of endangered wildlife.

The white-throated snapping turtle is unique to the Fitzroy, Burnett and Mary rivers along the central and southern Queensland coasts.

It was discovered six years ago.

The chief scientist with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Dr Col Limpus, says the animal’s eggs take longer to hatch compared with other turtle species.

He says the white-throated snapping turtle is particularly vulnerable.

“They’ve been recommended for consideration for listing as an endangered species,” he said.

“We’re just waiting for the new Minister to catch up with the information.

“They’re unusual in that they nest during winter and the eggs sit dormant in the nest for several months, so the eggs are spending somewhere in the vicinity of seven months in the sand instead of just a couple of months the other turtles have for incubation.

“Unless we’re out there actively protecting the eggs, you’re looking at almost 100 per cent of the eggs being destroyed by predators.”

The Government is also funding a program to encourage breeding in the wild.

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