Recovery Efforts So Far

Since the disease outbreak numerous recovery efforts have been implemented to monitor the survival of the Bellinger River Snapping turtle in the Bellinger River and safe-guard the population for the future.

Monitoring surveys:

In November 2015 and March 2016, field surveys were undertaken along the Bellinger River to establish the remaining population of the Bellinger River Snapping turtle population. Teams of snorkelers searched the river and the main observation from these surveys was the lack of adult turtles remaining in the river. The population now is largely comprised of juvenile Bellinger River Snapping turtles.


Photo: Team of snorkelers geared up ready to search the river for Bellinger River turtles Photo credit: Kristen Petrov

Captive breeding program:

At the time of the turtle tragedy, a recovery team comprised of the Office of Environment and Heritage, Department of Primary Industries, Taronga Zoo and Western Sydney University collected 17 healthy male and female Bellinger River Snapping turtles to form the basis of a captive breeding program.

Multi-Agency Collaboration

Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH)
NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Local Land Services (LLS)
NSW Health
Bellingen Shire Council
Wildlife Health Australia (WHA)
Taronga Wildlife Health Registry
Western Sydney University
Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
Wildlife Animal Carers, Community Groups, Herpetological Groups

For more information:

1. Introductory video from Western Sydney University

2. Notes from Bellingen Community Meeting November 2015

3. Save the Bellinger River Turtle

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