Freshwater turtle protection focus of training session

Council staff recently participated in a freshwater turtle training course.
Council staff recently participated in a freshwater turtle training course.

A recent training workshop will lead to greater collaboration between Bundaberg Regional Council staff and the Department of Environment and Science (DES) to protect freshwater turtles.

Natural resource management staff participated in hands-on demonstrations, presentations and practical tests as part of the three day Queensland Freshwater Turtle Conservation project held at Mon Repos.

Bundaberg Regional Council Environment Portfolio spokesperson Cr Wayne Honor said the training gave participating staff Collaborative Partner Authorisation.

“Basically this authorisation means our staff have the appropriate training to partner with DES in its turtle conservation activities,” Cr Honor said.

“Unfortunately many freshwater turtle species are threatened by predators, illegal netting and habitat destruction.

“This training gives our staff the qualifications they need to be the eyes and ears of DES staff when they are undertaking their normal duties throughout the region. Thanks to this training the information they provide can contribute to research projects or even alert DES to a situation that requires attention.

“By collaborating with the State Government we can help to ensure the survival of these amazing creatures, some of which can live up to 50 years.”

Council staff to assist in protection of freshwater turtles

Land Protection Officer Guy Hancock said the training was designed to increase knowledge of some of Australia’s 23 freshwater turtle species, with a focus on local species.

Council staff worked alongside community groups and Indigenous groups learning how to identify turtle species, turtle tracks, nests and eggs as well as tagging and measuring protocols.

He said it was highly beneficial to undertake the training which was delivered by freshwater turtle experts from DES and the Tiaro and District Landcare Group.

“The training allowed us to get up close and personal with a range of species practicing capture and handling techniques and understanding how to protect nests right through to awareness of relevant legislation protecting these species,” Mr Hancock said.

“As Land Protection Officers we can work with landholders to reduce the presence of feral dogs and foxes and help reduce the predation on freshwater turtles’ nests and eggs.

“Through our invasive weed control programs along the Burnett River we are now better equipped to identify the presence of nests which we can report to DES for ongoing monitoring, and contribute to weed removal and supporting nesting success.”

The training will also assist Council's Natural Areas team in the management of public areas with a high presence of freshwater turtles such as Baldwin Swamp and Gin Gin Nature Reserve.