Building a new life for endangered tortoise
The critically endangered Western Swamp Tortoise is making a big impact despite its tiny size in Perth.
This species was once thought to be extinct until a schoolboy made a chance discovery in the 1950s. In the 1980s there was estimated to be less than 30 Western Swamp Tortoises left in the wild, before Perth Zoo and the Department of Parks and Wildlife stepped in.
Now the zoo has the single biggest population of the reptile found anywhere in the world and its Native Species Breeding Program has bred more than 800 tortoises and released more than 600 back to the wild since 1989.
Midland Brick, a Boral company, and its employees have been helping the zoo’s breeding program to protect the population of the tortoise.
So the zoo could continue its work with the endangered reptile, a breeding complex to care for more than 200 tortoises at any one time was built with in-kind contributions of building materials from Midland Brick.
Midland Brick employees also generously donated their time to plant 178 seedlings in eight ponds that are adapted to wetland conditions and perfect for the tortoise because they provide shelter and shade and attract insects, providing live feed for them. Midland Brick employees also helped to release hatchlings.
The Western Swamp Tortoise exhibit can be found in the Australian Wetlands precinct at Perth Zoo and is proudly sponsored by Midland Brick.
Perth Zoo and the Department of Parks and Wildlife release new populations of the tortoise when they have reached a weight of 100 grams (about three years of age) at the Moore River Nature Reserve, Mogumber Nature Reserve, Ellen Brook Nature Reserve and the Twin Swamps Nature Reserve.