A new site has been launched today for the public to donate to help keep the threatened Jardine River Turtle from extinction.

Cape York Natural Resource Management will launch the site today, on National Threatened Species day, to raise awareness of the turtle and raise money to support it’s long term survival.

Cape York NRM’s Peta-Marie Standley said the turtle, also known as the Painted Turtle, only exists in the Northern Peninsula Area of Australia and in coastal parts of Papua New Guinea.

“It’s such a spectacular little turtle” she said. “It’s red and yellow colours are beautiful and its chest plate is almost flourescent red”.

Sandra Woosup, a Traditional Owner from the area, said the turtle is sacred to the Angkamuthi people.

“It is important that we have the resources to protect the country of this important turtle” Mrs Woosup said.

“We are really happy that Cape York NRM is helping us to fundraise to continue to look after the turtle” she said.

The turtle was recently listed as vulnerable under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992.

 Ms Standley said ongoing research is needed to understand the turtle, to give it the best chance of survival into the future.

“There is still a lot we don’t know about this turtle.  The small population found last year was the first seen in around 20 years – it is vital to be able to monitor this population and continue the research” she said.

The Apudthama Land Trust and Apudthama Rangers from the Northern Peninsula Area worked with Cape York NRM, Queensland Government researchers and Origin Energy to help re-discover the turtle.

“The Rangers will continue to monitor the turtles, and we are trying to reduce threats, like feral pigs, to the turtles” said Wilfred Namai, Senior Apudthama Ranger. 

“But we need more resources to continue the work.  The painted turtle is important to us because of its uniqueness.  It raises questions about our connection to PNG - it’s significance is still being uncovered and this will no doubt prove interesting and rewarding” he said.

Cape York NRM is a not-for-profit organisation and a registered charity. All donations over $2-00 are tax deductible.

“We really hope that the public will get behind the Jardine River turtle, and help us to keep it from extinction” said Ms Standley.

Donations can be made by visiting the Cape York NRM website www.capeyorknrm.com.au