Bell's Turtle hatchling which can be found at Girraween.
Bell's Turtle hatchling which can be found at Girraween. NSW OEH

VULNERABLE: Native turtle numbers at risk

WATER conversation is not only important for the community, it's important for our native wildlife.

Bald Rock Creek in Girraween National Park is home to a vulnerable species, the Bell's Turtle.

A Queensland Department of Environment and Science spokeswoman said residents needed to conserve water to protect the reptile.

"This freshwater turtle is restricted to high-altitude creeks on the New England Tableland," she said.

"Queensland's largest population of this species is in a small section of Bald Rock Creek.

"That same part of the creek also supplies the camping areas with water."

The medium-sized turtle has a brown coloured shell and black underside. Its natural habitat is in Granite Country where it prefers shallow waters.

The turtle's current status is vulnerable and is considered endangered across the state border.

"Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service are currently trying to keep the waterhole at a level where Bell's turtles can continue to survive," the DES spokewoman said.

Other threats to the turtles include pollution and increased sedimentation, trampling and damage to river banks and riverside vegetation and changes to natural stream flows as a result of water extraction and building of weirs.

Residents can help protect the turtles firstly by conserving water, especially when visiting Girraween National Park, as well as correctly disposing of rubbish.

Stanthorpe Border Post


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