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EARTHCHAT: Turtles in the Goulburn Valley

Turtles in the Goulburn Valley - ancient survivors under threat from foxes and vehicles.

Ken Wallis lives on a property  near 5 Mile Siding on the Goulburn River, on which he grows flowers with his partner TR but a healthy turtle habitat has sparked a new interest for them both.

Ken’s turtle habitat includes billabongs along the Upper Goulburn Road east of Tallarook. Freshwater wetlands, swamps slow-moving rivers and farm dams are the favoured habitat. The Eastern Long-neck Turtle is in healthy numbers, but their nests  are under heavy threat every nesting season. Foxes in the main, and perhaps larger birds, have an appetite for disturbing nests and eating eggs.  95% of nests in Australia are damaged. So whilst a long-neck turtle can lay a lot of eggs- up to 13 hard-shelled eggs- the brightly coloured plastrons take 120-150 days to emerge. That leaves  a lot of time as vulnerable to hungry foxes and foraging larger birds.

Turtles date from 230 million years ago, and have survived the dramatic changes that wiped out dinosaurs but their future is uncertain in a changing climate with pest predators and vehicles. Ken joins Peter Lockyer to discuss the turtles at Five Mile Siding; their nesting habits, how to identify turtle nests, where the nests are most likely and how to conserve the nests. What are the conservation measures available? Have you got turtle evidence in your backyard?

Ken has a keen eye, and also shares his observations of patterns in migration of snakes, wombats and birds up and down the Tallarook Ranges through Seasonal Concepts to the Goulburn River. And these patterns change.

Join Ken Wallis with Peter Lockyer on EarthChat this Tuesday at midday on 103.9 FM. Education and stories from our Goulburn River backyard in Taungurung country that makes our region just that more fascinating to share. Listen up folks, these are valuable stories.

The show will be repeated on 103.9 SeymourFM at 8am on Saturday. Click here for Seymour FM's website.  Can't catch the radio broadcast? It's already on Spotify, Apple Podcasts,  Podbean and the BEAM website. We make it easy to Earth-Chat!



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