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Territory tales to celebrate turtle day

World Turtle Day
Dr Carla Eisemberg with “Bubbles” the Hawksbill turtle

A series of short videos on turtles from the Territory including the story of “Bubbles”, a critically endangered Hawksbill, who was rescued in the waters off Gove, will go live this weekend to celebrate World Turtle Day on Saturday, 23 May.

Charles Darwin University turtle researcher and science outreach manager Dr Carla Eisemberg said she invited all Territorians to celebrate the NT’s amazing turtles.

“World Turtle Day is an opportunity for Territorians to find out more about the diversity of sea and freshwater turtles that we have in the NT,” Dr Eisemberg said. “Some of these turtles are critically endangered and there is still much to learn about them and the threats they face.”  

In partnership with Inspired NT, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, Dr Eisemberg has created a series of education videos “Turtle Territory Tales”.

“This series of online videos is targeted at children and will be showcased via the City of Darwin Library and Inspired NT Facebook pages this weekend,” she said.

“The videos centre on four species of turtle found in NT waters and describe where they live and what they eat. There are also stories about the turtles living at the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre at CDU such as ‘Heff’ who is a 45 kg Hawksbill and ‘Bubbles’, a juvenile Hawksbill.”

Dr Eisemberg, who is researching the importance of the freshwater long-necked turtle to Indigenous communities, said World Turtle Day was an opportunity to highlight the threats faced by turtles in the NT and globally.

“Two of the species in the videos are listed as endangered,” she said. “The pig-nosed turtle is endangered and the Hawksbill sea turtle is critically endangered.”

She said that in the NT, the main threats to turtles were habitat destruction and introduced animals such as pigs and buffalos.

“Pigs eat the eggs of the turtles and some of the species of freshwater turtles themselves (such as the long-necked turtle) when they are buried in the ground

in the dry season,” she said. “Buffalo tramp their habitat and make it unsuitable for turtles to live.”

The videos are an opportunity for children and their families to learn more about the NT’s amazing turtles and how to care for them and their environment.

“People can help by not throwing rubbish in rivers and lakes, not disturbing the beaches where they are nesting and support programs that are managing pigs and buffalos,” Dr Eisemberg said.

The videos will be available from tomorrow at: https://www.facebook.com/InspiringNT/. One video will be included as part of the City of Darwin Library online Storytime today (22 May) at 10:30am.