Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Albury trial to outfox turtle predators

Albury City Council is trialling a simple method to protect turtle eggs in the Murray River, with latest figures showing turtle numbers have declined by up to 90% in parts of the waterway.

Council says fox predation on turtle eggs is one of the most significant threats to the iconic river dwellers.

Foxes are believed to be destroying large numbers of eggs before they hatch, meaning many of the older turtles in our rivers, creeks and billabongs may not effectively reproduce, Council said in a statement.

“It leaves the animals facing a troubled future with fears for their survival over the long term.”

“At Albury City’s Wonga Wetlands, we’re trialling a simple method of protecting turtle eggs, in the hope that it may provide long-term hope.

“Our crews have created a wire mesh barrier on a sandbank which is known to be a popular place for turtles to place their eggs. The mesh is open at ground level, which means turtles can enter, but it’s hoped foxes will be deterred by the risk of becoming trapped under the wire.”

Council says it will closely monitor the site to see whether any nests have been disturbed.

“We’re also using flashing lights at night in the hope that foxes will associate the lights with humans, and steer clear of the area.”

“If the trial works, it may provide opportunities to limit the decline of turtles, but a much wider approach will be needed across the Murray Basin to give these remarkable animals a fighting chance,” Council said.

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