How you can help track local turtles

Play a part in protecting freshwater turtles by collecting data about them. Learn how to do it and why it helps.

These days there seems to be a special day to mark everything, but World Turtle Day is definitely one to shellebrate.

It’s held around the globe on 23 May to bring attention to and increase knowledge of turtles and tortoises, and encourage human action to help them survive and thrive.

In South Australia, common native turtle species include the eastern long-necked turtleMurray short-necked turtle and broad-shelled turtle.

However these freshwater turtles are in crisis.

Save our turtle necks

Australia’s freshwater turtles are under serious threat due to widespread drought, fox predation and human activities.

There is mounting evidence suggesting that many turtle species are declining across Australia.

People power to the rescue

You can help protect turtles by collecting data when you see them.

If you spot a turtle or a turtle nest, head to the TurtleSAT (Turtle Surveying and Analysis Tools) website using your smartphone or computer and enter the information. Alternatively, you can download the app for Android phones.

The information collected will help inform researchers where turtles live, how far they travel, and different reasons for the decline in numbers from region to region. By contributing, you’ll be helping to grow a bank of data that will help protect turtles into the future.

Places to look include along the river or near your local creek or farm dam – and keep an eye out for turtles on the road, too.

Interested in more ways to help the environment from your own backyard? Consider building a raingarden or taking some simple steps to reduce food waste.

This story was originally posted in May 2016.

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