Conservationists Release First Endangered River Turtles Rescued From Australian Wildfires

10 endangered Manning River turtles were just released into the wild thanks to conservationists with Aussie Ark.

The release of the turtles was a historic moment and one that shines a light on the efforts of the conservation organization.

Photo: YouTube/Aussie Ark

According to the Aussie Ark, Manning River turtles are medium-sized freshwater turtles that are characterized by distinct yellow markings.

The organization explained that the species is suffering from a “range of threats, including predation, illegal poaching, habitat degradation and disease.” Foxes were pinned as a main predator that “raid the nests and eat the eggs and young turtles but also the mothers as they are laying them on the river bank.”

Photo: YouTube/Aussie Ark

Aussie Arks added, “These threats have all drastically reduced the number of surviving individuals and have also left the wild population vulnerable to mass extinction in the face of any catastrophic event that may occur. Water quality, food availability and suitable nesting environments are likely to also have been affected by human use of the land in adjoining areas, causing environmental changes.”

It’s because of the issues they face and their dwindling numbers that Aussie Ark is fighting so hard to save the species from extinction. Back in 2018, they established a breeding program for the turtle species, the very first in the world.

The 10 eggs recently released, however, weren’t bred intentionally in captivity. Instead, they were rescued from a monitored nest that was in the path of the 2020 Australian wildfires.

Photo: YouTube/Aussie Ark

In a press release, Aussie Ark’s director, Tim Faulkner, called the release a “monumental, historical day.” He said, “This is what the program is all about; rescuing an endangered species and getting them back to the wild. Getting to see them swim off into the river is not a sight I will soon forget.”

If you want to see the turtles released for yourself, check out the video below:

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