The search for hatchling turtles at Hyde Park

Published: Tuesday, 11 September 2018 at 3:04:09 PM

Juvenile and hatchling oblong turtles are rarely, if ever, seen in Hyde Park and the City of Vincent hopes a three year study of the turtles will tell them why.

In 2015 the City funded a study on the oblong turtles in Hyde Park lakes, following anecdotal reports of fewer and fewer sightings of hatchlings and juveniles.

“We’re very fortunate to have a turtle population of around 300 living in Hyde Park Lakes and as part of our inner-city community. We’d like to do whatever we can to help the turtles thrive, breed and live long and healthy lives in the park,” said Mayor Emma Cole.

“The original study was conducted by a UWA Masters student and identified that the reports were true. Although the lakes had a large population of fertile adults, there appeared to be little to no juvenile turtles at Hyde Park.”

“We know that the turtles are breeding, but the hatchlings don’t appear to be surviving and that is extremely concerning.”

“The City has commissioned a further study by UWA to look into the causes and try to find solutions to Hyde Park’s oblong turtle problem,” she said.

Dr Roberta Bencini, Associate Professor at UWA, is overseeing the study, with advice from Dr Gerald Kuchling, Senior Research Scientist at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and a team of UWA students. Professor Bencini and Dr Kuchling co-supervised the original 2015 study.

The first round of trapping for the project started on Monday 10 September. Traps have been set in Hyde Park lakes and researchers will be measuring the turtles, as well as ultrasounding female adult turtles to ensure they are healthy and reproducing.

Trapping sessions will be occurring throughout spring and summer and all captured turtles will be released back into the Hyde Park lakes.

“The researchers will also be tracking nesting females to preferred nesting sites and monitoring these sites to identify if predators, pets, or even people are the cause,” said Mayor Cole.

Dr Bencini is hoping locals can keep an eye out for hatchlings and mature turtles out of the water. If you see a turtle, please watch it carefully to see if you can identify a possible nesting site and contact the City or the team at UWA with this information.

For more information on the study or if you have a turtle sighting please contact 9273 6000 or visit vincent.wa.gov.au

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