The Australian Reptile Park has received their first Manning River turtle to become the first founding turtle in a conservation exercise in partnership with Aussie Ark.
Her name is Manny. She is a juvenile female and, as Tim Faulkner, general manager and head of conservation of the ARP and Aussie Ark says, she is the first of her kind to arrive at any conservation organisation in Australia, or the world.
Manny was one of a pair that were illegally poached and seized by authorities. Sadly, she is the only one of the pair to survive.
She was handed over to Tim and Dan Rumsey, head of reptiles at ARP, at the recent launch of the Manning River Turtle Project and crowd funding campaign in Wingham.
Members of the public who turned up at the launch were given the unexpected bonus of seeing Manny as a live specimen.
As an endangered species that is only found in the upper and middle catchment areas of the Manning River, the Manning River turtle is at risk of extinction.
The ARP and Aussie Ark have joined forces to create an insurance population of the turtle, similar to that of the Tasmanian devils at Devil Ark, and populations of other threatened species at Aussie Ark. The program is similar to the Taronga Zoo and Symbio Wildlife Park Bellinger River turtle program.
She is now the very first founder in our turtle conservation project to save the species.Tim Faulkner
To build the facilities to house and breed the insurance population, Aussie Ark currently has a crowd funding campaign running. They need $110,000 and currently they only have $31, 374 raised with only 17 days left of the campaign.
Help is desperately needed and every cent counts. Learn more and donate at www.pozible.com/project/save-the-manning-river-turtle-1/.
The ARP are urging local individuals and corporations to come on board and help save the turtle. There are options from a $2 donation, up to becoming a project partner, which has many additional benefits to the donor.
“Please help keep the momentum up by sharing to your friends and encouraging people to fight for Manny and the rest of the Manning River turtles!” the ARP said.