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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

The Conservation Alliance

A Turtle From The Dreamtime

A Turtle From The Dreamtime

Dreamtime rock-art turtle, Australia  (credit: SWP Media)

It is always 'good news' when a species thought extinct is rediscovered. An aquatic turtle from a remote corner of Australia, the Jardine River painted turtle, likely has a very long history.

Northern Queensland consists of wild bushland, rivers, and upland terrain. The Jardin River painted turtle was thought extinct due to predation by feral pigs and had not been observed for many years. A team of wildlife managers, indigenous rangers, and energy company engineers re-discovered the aquatic species during a wildland training program. It was found again in several billabongs (creeks) within Jardine River National Park near the tip of Cape York.Team members erected temporary fencing to prevent the the nesting turtles from scavenging pigs that prey on turtle eggs during the wet season.

              Jardine River painted turtle survey, Cape York, Queensland (credit: ANGFA)


Indigenous ranger Warren Stevens, involved with the rediscovery, said the new finds were especially important for local Aboriginal people: They’re definitely sacred to one of the clan here. They have a storyline about that turtle as well, so there’s a lot of significance in this find for the local region.

Aboriginal people have inhabited Australia for 20,000 years creating rock art (pictographs) depicting the world they lived in and their creation story, the Dreamtime. Each animal was a totem for a clan. It's hard to say if their ancient rock art represents a Jardine River turtle but it is a nice thought considering their rediscovery and importance to the people living there today. WHB 

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