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Slow and steady: conservationists win battle against tortoise extinction

The last of five hundred juvenile Western Swamp Tortoises to be bred in captivity over the last decade in WA has been released into wild, bringing the species back from the brink of extinction.

The miniature tortoise was Australia’s most endangered reptile, thought to be extinct until rediscovered in the Swan Valley in the 1950s.

Scientists from the University of Western Australia and the University of Melbourne who repopulated the species hope that it will give the tortoises a better chance of surviving the uncertain conditions of climate change.

As well as breeding less due to a drying climate, tortoise populations have suffered from habitat loss and degradation due to land clearing and chemicals used in farming. They are also hunted by feral predators like cats, rats and foxes.

Read more at The University of Western Australia

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