Bellinger River snapping turtles saved from extinction

Published: 27 May 2019

A captive breeding program at Taronga Zoo has successfully returned 10 critically endangered Bellinger River snapping turtles to their natural habitat on the Mid North Coast.

The $100 million Saving our Species captive breeding program rescued 20 virus-free turtles from the Bellinger River. In 2015, 90 per cent of the estimated 4500 turtles living in the river were wiped out by a virus within three months.

In the first year of the program, 22 healthy turtles hatched, with another 31 healthy turtles hatching in 2018.

The 10 turtles will be closely monitored with more planned to be released back into the river in the future.

Environment Minister Matt Kean said the program is providing a lifeline for one of the world’s rarest turtle species.

“The captive breeding program at Taronga Zoo will try to secure a future for this species and improve the environment for our future generations,” Mr Kean said.

Find out more about the Saving our Species program

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