A species of grassland tortoises has been found on the Australian mainland, with scientists hoping to track its movements in a bid to save them from extinction.
Key points: The species was discovered in the grassland of the Northern TerritoryThe new species is an endangered speciesThe new tortoise, named after an Indigenous leader, is one of five species of Tasmanian grassland turtle found in AustraliaThe discovery of the tortoise was made by researchers working with the Australian Museum in Hobart.
Turtle populations have declined significantly in recent decades as habitat loss, pollution and climate change has affected their habitat.
The new group of tortois, named for the Northern Territorians who helped found it, was discovered by scientists working with The Australian Museum.
“The species we found is one that’s been around for about 100 years and it’s been very difficult to track,” Australian Museum marine ecologist Andrew Taylor said.
“We knew it was an endangered tortoise species, but we hadn’t realised it was actually extinct.”
So it’s quite a surprise, and we’re very excited that it’s found in Tasmania.
“Turtle numbers in Tasmania have declined by almost 80 per cent over the last 40 years.
It is believed that the island nation of Tasmania has lost more than 20,000 of its tortoires over the past 30 years.
Turtles in the Northern Territories have been hit particularly hard by pollution and pollution related to mining and the construction of oil and gas operations.
The Northern Territory Government is currently considering whether to phase out mining, which has resulted in many tortoise populations losing their habitat to the oil and other fossil fuels.
Mr Taylor said the discovery of this new species was “extremely exciting” and indicated that it could save many of the species that are currently on the mainland.”
It’s great news, because this is one in the family of species we know about in Tasmania,” he said.