Perth Zoo helps boost endangered western swamp tortoises
PERTH Zoo will be helping to boost the numbers of Australia’s most endangered reptile with new facilities.
The western swamp tortoise — thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1953 —
will have the chance to breed safely in greater numbers with new, environmentally-friendly quarantine ponds at the zoo which can care for up to 250 tortoises at once.
The zoo has bred more than 800 of the tortoises since 1989 and released 668 into the wild to boost numbers, with new populations established at Moore River and Mogumber Nature Reserves.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the State Government-funded ponds would help to further safeguard one of Australia’s unique reptiles, which is under threat due to urbanisation, the fox population and declining rainfall.
“The new facility incorporates some innovative environmental initiatives,” Mr Jacob said.
“The tortoises are big water users and it’s one of the reasons they are struggling in our warmer, drier climate.
“On average the zoo’s 49 tortoise ponds need 30,000 to 50,000 litres of fresh, clean water a day. “This new facility has been designed so the water can be re-used across other parts of the zoo, such as on the gardens or even to flush the visitor toilets.”