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Turtles inhabit better in suburbs than in reserves: Report

Last Updated: Thursday, October 22, 2009 - 13:12

Melbourne: While rapid urbanisation have put the existence of many wild animals in danger across the world, scientists have found that turtles living in the suburban habitats of Australia are doing better than it does in natural reserves.

Eastern long-necked turtles (Chelodina longicolis), which
have larger home ranges and can cope with periods of drought,
appear to grow and survive better in suburban environments
than natural ones, a recent report in journal Biological
Conservation said.

Urbanisation can be damaging to many animals across the
world, resulting in loss of habitat and the disappearance of
species, so the researchers examined how the turtle responds
to urban living and drought by comparing the reptiles that
lived in the suburbs of Canberra to those in adjacent nature
reserves. The results left them surprised.

"We expected suburban turtles to move around less than
those on the nature reserves in response to the many threats
that suburban turtles could encounter, but we found the
opposite," says Dr John Roe, a member of the research team
from the Institute for Applied Ecology at the University of
Canberra, Australia.

"Suburban turtles travelled longer distances and occupied
home ranges nearly three times larger than turtles in the
nature reserves," he says.

These turtles, which are common across much of south
eastern Australia, are carnivorous and can be found in many
freshwater habitats in the wild and in towns and cities.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, October 22, 2009 - 13:12

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