Issue 10
Monday, 02 December 2019
Charles Darwin University
From left: Dr Carla Eisemberg, Isabel Ely, Dr Linda Ford and Dr Erica Garcia
From left: Dr Carla Eisemberg, Isabel Ely, Dr Linda Ford and Dr Erica Garcia

Turtle team wins NT award

The RIEL Tropical Turtle Research Group has taken home an NT Natural Resource Management Award.

The awards recognise the achievements of farmers, rangers, researchers, community groups, businesses and schools who devote their time to looking after the Territory’s natural resources.

The project team, comprising Dr Carla Eisemberg, Isabel Ely, Associate Professor Linda Ford, Dr Erica Garcia and Professor Keith Christian, won the Research in Natural Resource Management category.

The team has been investigating the decline in the health and populations of the northern long-necked turtle in the Finniss River catchment.

Dr Eisemberg said the research was triggered by concerns from Indigenous people about the decline in health and large numbers of dead turtles, prompting the group to undertake a threat assessment for the species.

“Pigs and climate change were ranked as the most severe hazards to the turtle,” she said. “It was also found that the turtle has exceedingly high iron levels in its muscle and liver, which might be of major importance in the Northern Territory where anaemia is a serious issue.”

The threats and knowledge gaps identified in the study have the potential to guide future wildlife management actions in the Finniss River floodplains.

The results of this research were also translated into a booklet for children and an interactive game, which is bringing awareness about the long-necked turtle threats that could be mitigated by the communities through NT schools and events.