By Andrew A. Burbidge and Gerald Kuchling for the Western Swamp Tortoise Recovery Team



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western swamp tortoise (Pseudemydura umbrina) recovery plan)

by Andrew A. Burbidge and Gerald Kuchling

for the Western Swamp Tortoise Recovery Team
photo of western swamp tortoise

2004


Wildlife Management Program No. 37







natural heritage trust

university of western australia

WESTERN AUSTRALIAN WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM NO. 37

western swamp tortoise


(PSEUDEMYDURA UMBRINA)
recovery plan

3rd edition


January 2003 - December 2007

by
Andrew A. Burbidge1 and Gerald Kuchling2


for the Western Swamp Tortoise Recovery Team


1 Department of Conservation and Land Management

Western Australian Threatened Species and Communities Unit

PO Box 51, Wanneroo, WA 6946
2 Department of Zoology

The University of Western Australia

35 Stirling Highway, Nedlands, WA 6009
2004
Department of Conservation and Land Management

Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, WA 6983, Australia

ISSN 0816-9713

Cover photo: Pseudemydura umbrina by Gerald Kuchling

The Department of Conservation and Land Management’s Recovery Plans

are edited by the

Western Australian Threatened Species and Communities Unit

PO Box 51, Wanneroo, Western Australia 6946

Telephone: +61 8 9405 5128; Facsimile +61 8 9306 1066; Email: jillp@calm.wa.gov.au

2004


FOREWORD

The Western Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management publishes Wildlife Management Programs to provide detailed information and management actions for the conservation of threatened species of flora and fauna or of ecological communities, as well as harvested species of flora and fauna. This Western Swamp Tortoise Recovery Plan is the 3rd edition of Wildlife Management Program No. 11, published in 1994, which in turn was based on Wildlife Management Program No. 6, published in 1990. The 2nd edition covered work from January 1998 to December 2002.


Recovery Plans delineate, justify and schedule management actions necessary to support the recovery of threatened species and ecological communities. The attainment of objectives and the provision of funds necessary to implement actions is subject to budgetary and other constraints affecting the parties involved, as well as the need to address other priorities. Recovery Plans do not necessarily represent the views nor the official position of individuals or organisations represented on the Recovery Team. The Executive Director, Department of Conservation and Land Management, the Conservation Commission of Western Australia and the Minister for the Environment and Heritage have approved this Recovery Plan.
Approved Recovery Plans are subject to modification as dictated by new findings, changes in species’ status and completion of recovery actions.
Implementation of this Recovery Plan has been funded by the Western Australian Government through the Department and Perth Zoo and by the Commonwealth Government through the Endangered Species Program (now part of the Natural Heritage Trust). Additional funds and resources have been provided by The University of Western Australia’s Zoology Department, The School of Biomedical Sciences at Curtin University of Technology, the Western Australian Water Corporation, the World Wide Fund for Nature Australia, and several companies, conservation groups and schools. Without this support, the recovery of the Western Swamp Tortoise would not be as advanced as it is.


CONTENTS

FOREWORD 5

SUMMARY 8

1. INTRODUCTION 10

1.1 Description and history of species 10

1.2 Distribution and abundance 10

1.2.1 Distribution 10

1.2.2 Population estimates 11

1.2.3 Habitat critical to the survival of the species 11

1.2.4 Important populations 12

1.3 Life history and ecological relationships 13

1.5 Reasons for threatened status 19

1.5.1 Geographic range and habitat 19

1.5.2 Biology 19

1.5.3 Effects of drought 20

1.5.4 Exotic predators 20

1.6 Existing conservation measures 20

1.6.1 Conservation status 20

1.6.2 Creation of nature reserves 20

1.6.3 Extension of nature reserves 20

1.6.4 Ecological studies 21

1.6.5 Management of nature reserves 21

1.6.6 Captive breeding 24

1.6.7 Genetic management 25

1.6.8 Translocations 26

1.6.9 Management Program, Recovery Plan and Recovery Team 26

1.7 Strategy for recovery 27

2. RECOVERY OBJECTIVE AND CRITERIA 27

2.1 Objective 27

2.2 Criteria 28

3. RELATED MATTERS 28

3.1 International obligations 28

3.2 Affected interests 29

3.3 Indigenous people 29

3.4 Benefits to other species and ecological communities 29

3.5 Social and economic impacts 30

4. GUIDE FOR DECISION-MAKERS 30

5. RECOVERY ACTIONS 30

5.1 Employment of Chief Investigator 30

5.2 Management of Ellen Brook, Twin Swamps and MOGUMBER Nature Reserves 31

5.2.1 Management of Ellen Brook Nature Reserve 31

5.2.2 Management of Twin Swamps Nature Reserve 32

5.2.3 Management of Mogumber Nature Reserve 34

5.2.4 Monitoring of water depths and water chemistry 34

5.3 TORTOISE POPULATION MONITORING 36

5.4 Captive breeding 36

5.4.1 Existing captive breeding colony 36

5.4.2 Establishment of additional captive colonies 36

5.5 Translocations 37

5.5.1 Re-introduction to Twin Swamps Nature Reserve and to Mogumber 37

5.5.2 Translocation to additional sites 38

5.6 Education, publicity and sponsorship 41

5.6.1 Education and publicity 41

5.6.2 Sponsorships 41

EVALUATION 42

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 42

REFERENCES 42

GLOSSARY 47

ADDENDUM 49




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