The Friends of the Western Swamp Tortoise was delighted to receive its third Community Conservation Grant in three years, after applying to help the Perth Zoo build a prototype new Captive Breeding Tank.
The Director of Animal Health and Research, in her letter of support for the application, said ‘The old ponds have become insecure and leak continually to such an extent that we have to have taps running constantly into them to maintain water in them for the tortoises.’
The design that has been developed, in consultation with Gerald Kuchling and DEC staff, lifts the ponds above ground level, which has two major advantages:
Firstly this will greatly reduce back strain for the keeping staff caring for the tortoises, currently staff must walk across narrow planks and then lean over into the ponds to catch a tortoise.
The new design will allow them to work while standing up and make locating and catching tortoises far easier and safer.
The new design also includes a simple filtration system. The current design of breeding and holding ponds does not include any filtration so we rely on the constant changeover of water to maintain good conditions for the tortoises, not a very sustainable design!
A contractor will begin work soon, and the pond is expected to be in use for the next breeding season.