South Kolan played host to a group of concerned landholders, councillors and students as they gathered to learn more about the Burnett Cathcment’s threatened turtle species, the White Throated Snapping Turtle (Elseya albagula). The highlight for the day was meeting one local resident, a White Throated Snapping Turtle who travelled with Duncan Limpus from the EPA to say g’day. Mr Limpus gave a comprehensive talk about some of the identifying characteristics of the White Throated Snapping Turtle and how it is separated from other similar species like the Fitzroy River Turtle (Rheodytes leucops) and Mary River Turtle (Elusor macrurus).

The White Throated Snapping Turtle is a recently identified turtle, found only in the Burnett, Mary and Fitzroy catchments. The Turtle is a threatened species and a priority for the EPA’s Back on Track species prioritisation framework. It can be identified by its large size (up to 42cm long shell!) and the irregular white or cream markings present on the throat and lower sides of the face.

wtst_infosession_duncan2.JPG Left: Turtle expert, Duncan Limpus presents the White Throated Snapping Turtle to the keen audience at South Kolan on Thursday.

Participants in the info session, suggested a number of ways that we as the public can help to keep this species from an uncertain future by protecting their nests from predators, which are considered to be the primary threat to the Turtle, by baiting and fencing the nests areas and by involving nearby landholders with on-ground works and volunteering time.

If you are interested in becoming more involved in the work to protect the White Throated Snapping Turtle, the invitation is open for you to become a BCCA member (LINK) and/or an Expression of Interest Form (LINK) to work with BCCA. “Community involvement is vital to the success of this project”, Waterways Coordinator, Rebecca Sunnerdale, commented.

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