JMR WITH ENVIRONMENT MINISTER LEY

The population of an endangered turtle will have a better chance at recovering from the Black Summer bushfires with support from a program that will significantly increase the numbers of Manning River Helmeted Turtle bred in captivity, with the ultimate aim of boosting numbers in the wild.

The Morrison Government is providing $450,000 to Ballarat Wildlife Park to establish a captive breeding facility for this turtle species.

Ballarat Wildlife Park is one of nine specialist organisations accredited for positive animal welfare by the Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia that are receiving a share of $4.5 million in funding for captive breeding of eleven bushfire-affected species.

“Captive breeding has become an important tool for conservationists post bushfires, helping to steady the numbers of threatened species like the endangered Smoky Mouse and Regent Honeyeater,” Minister Ley said.

“That is why I am pleased to announce that nine specialist organisations will be receiving a share of $4.5 million to support breeding, leading to a greater number of these threatened animals being released back into their natural habitats.”

Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson welcomed the announcement.

“It is fantastic to see an outstanding local organisation receive funding to help one of our most unique species recover following the devastating Black Summer Bushfires,” Senator Henderson said.

The eleven species are among the 119 animals identified by the Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel as high priorities for urgent management intervention following the bushfires.

Two birds (Eastern Bristlebird, Regent Honeyeater), three frogs (Kroombit Tinker Frog, Giant Barred Frog, Stuttering Frog), four mammals (Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby, Mountain Pygmy-possum, Smoky Mouse, New Holland Mouse) and another turtle (Georges Snapping Turtle) are the other species that will benefit from captive breeding activities.

Fire-affected wildlife is already being supported by targeted on-ground activities to recover their habitats including feral animal and weed control, revegetation, erosion control, Indigenous fire and land management, and protection of refuges.

The Morrison Government has made $200 million available to help native wildlife and their habitats recover from the devastating impacts of the 2019-20 bushfires across southern and eastern Australia

For more information visit  www.environment.gov.au/bushfire-recovery/.

17 December 2020