Turtles released in the Mary River on Sunday.
Turtles released in the Mary River on Sunday. Contributed

Big day for little turtles

IT WAS their day and they made the most of it.

It was also their year, International Year of the Turtle.

World Turtle Day and Year were celebrated on Sunday in the Mary Valley with the release of 102 captive bred turtles into the wild, making a total of 342 of the reptiles released since 2007.

Craig and Gabrielle Latta, founders of the Australian Freshwater Turtle Conservation and Research Association, have been breeding the endangered species for years, but before 2007 the young turtles remained in captivity.

Working with DERM’s Dr Colin Limpus, they are permitted to breed the turtles on their hinterland property and to release them as part of a program to help save the species from extinction.

Conservation advocate Bob Irwin said it was great to see people in Queensland taking conservation into their own hands.

“In this day and age it’s refreshing to see such positive outcomes for our troubled environment,” he said.

Mr Latta said the Mary River turtle was endangered because it was restricted to one relatively small river system.

“Releasing these animals is a small step towards ensuring their future survival and we hope Mary Valley residents will continue to protect their precious ecosystem,” Mr Latta said.

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