Assisted colonisation trials for the western swamp turtle to cooler southern wetlands - Factsheet

Date: 02, Nov, 2020
Author(s):   Nicola Mitchell
Publisher: TSR Hub

This study is a world-first trial of assisted colonisation of a vertebrate species in response to the threat of climate change. The Critically Endangered western swamp turtle (Pseudemydura umbrina) naturally occurs in one small, now isolated, ephemeral and seasonal clay swamp complex near Perth, Western Australia. The species relies on a wet winter and spring period to eat, grow and reproduce within the wetlands, and is then dormant (in aestivation) when the wetlands dry out. The critical wet period was formerly up to seven months long, but without remedial intervention reduced rainfall due to climate change has reduced the wet period to three to four months. Shortened wet periods coupled with extensive habitat loss on privately owned land and changes in adjacent land usage threaten the persistence of the species within its natural range.