Steber steps up to help save endangered Manning Turtle

Steber steps up to help save endangered Manning Turtle

Steber International is throwing it’s weight behind efforts to save the endangered Manning River Helmeted Turtle.

A specially constructed Aussie Ark facility at the Australian Reptile Park has been tasked to establish “robust and healthy insurance population” as numbers in the wild have significantly declined in recent years.

(Just this week the first hatchlings hit the water at the Gosford park following a rescue mission to  gather up eggs from the Manning River. The eggs were initially being threatened by drought conditions, then fires and latterly by floods and being trampled by roaming cattle).

Commenting on the project, managing director, Alan Steber said: “When we first heard about the plight of the turtle, and being responsible corporate citizens, we felt the need to lend our support to such a worthy cause”.

“As the endangered species is water-based and the Manning Valley is “home”, it was a natural fit for us to get involved”.

“We wish Aussie Ark and their dedicated team every success in this crucial rescue mission.

“Steber International, one of Australia’s leading fibreglass boat manufacturers, relocated to Taree in the mid 70s and is a strong advocate and supporter of its local community”, Mr Steber concluded.

The Manning River Helmeted Turtle is found only on the Mid North Coast of NSW, more particularly restricted to the middle and upper stretches of the Manning River catchment area.

There habitat is relatively shallow, clear, continuously fast-flowing rivers.

The species faces a range of threats, including predation, illegal poaching, habitat degradation and disease.

Aussie Ark and the reptile park have joined forces to save the species by building the enclosure at the park, which is environmentally and climatically perfect due to its proximity to the wild  distribution of the species.

The aim is to initially collect wild specimens and establish a long-term robust insurance population.

Additionally, in partnership with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, there will be ongoing in-situ population surveys to monitor the status of the wild population, protecting nesting sites and land management activities within their natural habitat.

Once captive breeding has been established, wild translocation from the captive facility to areas the turtles were formally found will be conducted to bolster wild populations and ensure the species remain ecologically functioning.