The unseasonal climate of Perth this year, with a lack of rain, has caused a headache for the zoo, as the swamp habitat for the Western Swamp Tortoise has been unsuitable for the release of hatchlings. The swamps collected water very late in the season, and spring temperatures have meant a very short time before evaporation dried them out again.
Captive born hatchlings from the Perth Zoo were ready to be released, but Chief Scientific Investigator, Dr. Gerald Kuchling, decided the sub-optimal conditions would result in too many mortalities. The Zoo now has over 200 tortoises, and is bursting at the seams. Hopefully next winter the rains will be early, and we can release many of the animals and take the pressure off the Zoo facilities.