November is ‘Turtle Month’ and the 1millionturtles project has launched a training package which teaches community members how to find and protect turtle nests so that eggs can hatch out safely.
The project is helping to save turtles across Australia; in the past year citizen scientists have protected over 150 nests from foxes and saved over 800 turtles by moving them off the road.
Dr James Van Dyke, from La Trobe’s Centre for Freshwater Ecosystems, said turtle nests are particularly at risk from predators.
“Unfortunately foxes often eat turtle eggs that are laid next to wetlands and rivers,” Dr Van Dyke said.
“It is vital that we help save our freshwater turtles, so this November we’re calling on people to protect turtle nests with mesh, to stop foxes digging them up and eating the eggs.”
Associate Professor Ricky Spencer from Western Sydney University said there were lots of ways for people to get involved in turtle conservation.
“We are interested in sightings of turtles both dead and alive, and keen to understand where there are ‘hotspots’ of foxes destroying turtle nests,” Associate Professor Spencer said.
“Sightings can be recorded on our TurtleSAT App or, for those wanting to get more involved, there is training on how to protect turtle nests and help with this nationwide effort to save our turtles.”
Dr Deborah Bower from the University of New England said that Australia’s 24 species of freshwater turtles are declining, and in many areas foxes are the main culprit.
“Between disease, habitat change, and introduced species, turtles are having a hard time,” Dr Bower said.
“It’s devastating to imagine a world without freshwater turtles, and we’re asking Australians to take action and help the baby turtles make it safely back to the water.”
Find out more and complete the training through 1millionturtles
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