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Perth Zoo announces its largest wild release of Western Swamp Tortoises

Perth Zoo announces its largest wild release of Western Swamp Tortoises
August 18, 2019

73 Western Swamp tortoises hatched at Perth Zoo are to be released to Moore River Nature Reserve marking the single biggest wild release of the rare native reptiles.

Parks and Wildlife Service staff and scientists from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions will be releasing the young tortoises, ranging from two to four-years-old into Moore River Nature Reserve, north of Perth.

Since 2007, 192 juvenile Western Swamp Tortoises have been released at Moore River. Some have since reached maturity and produced new hatchlings of their own.

The Western Swamp Tortoise was once thought to be extinct and 30 years ago there were less than 50 individuals remaining on the planet.

The breeding program for this species was established behind the scenes of Perth Zoo in 1988, helping to bring it back from the brink of extinction. To date, 1090 tortoises have been hatched at the Zoo and 788 of those have been released to the wild.

Before the upcoming release the 73 Tortoises will be weighed, measured and marked or microchipped to ensure their identity and progress can be monitored over the years.

Western Swamp Tortoises are a long-lived native species, but it can take eight to 15 years before they mature and are ready to breed.

Moore River Nature Reserve offers good habitat and ongoing control of feral predators, increasing the chances of survival for this critically endangered species.

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16th March 2019 - Flatback Sea Turtles at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium help raise awareness of endangered marine life

20th February 2019 - Perth Zoo’s otter breeding program helps protect species against extinction

13th November 2018 - Perth Zoo officially opens its lion breeding facility

29th October 2018 - 120th birthday sees Perth Zoo celebrate changing conservation role

14th September 2018 - New Executive Director takes the lead at Perth Zoo

23rd May 2016 - Marine attractions highlight conservation efforts on World Turtle Day

3rd March 2016 - United Nations marks World Wildlife Day with a global call to save endangered species

19th November 2014 - Criminal wildlife poaching driving endangered species to brink of extinction

20th August 2014 - Federal Government appoints commissioner for threatened species


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