Let's 'shell-ebrate' freshwater turtles

World Turtle Day is on 23 May. It highlights the role of turtles in the environment, the issues they face, and how we can help ensure they survive into the future.

Manning River helmeted turtle (Myuchelys purvisi)

Turtles and tortoises are an ancient group of reptiles dating back about 220 million years. However, their numbers are declining globally; almost half of the world's 357 turtle species are currently threatened.

New South Wales is home to 7 species of native freshwater turtles. Three are currently listed as threatened.

The Saving our Species program works with project partners and the community to undertake conservation projects to secure a future for these threatened reptiles in the wild.


Why are turtles important?

Freshwater turtles play a critical role in aquatic ecosystems. These turtles:

  • maintain ecosystem balance
  • contribute to biodiversity
  • indicate environmental health
  • hold social and cultural value.

'I am passionate about working on freshwater turtles because they are an ancient animal that has evolved over millennia to occupy a unique niche in our natural ecosystems. I want to see turtles persist into the future because they are an integral part of the biodiversity of our native ecosystems and are important for maintaining the health of our waterways.'

Andrew Steed. Threatened Species Officer, Saving our Species

Help save threatened freshwater turtles

You can help save New South Wales's threatened freshwater turtles in several ways.

Learn more