The River Conservation Society first conducted a population study of the Oblong tortoise (Chelodina oblonga) population at Gwambygine Pool in the Avon River in 1998/99. Additional trapping and turtle population monitoring at Gwambygine Pool took place in 2011 and confirmed that the population still appears to be in good health.
Professor G. Kuchling, School of Animal Biology, UWA, is on record as saying, “The studies conducted by the Society at Gwambygine Pool are significant for Western Australia since they represent the only long term recorded data set for species outside the Perth metropolitan area. The environmental conditions and threats in the wheat belt are different from those in the Perth metro area, with increasing salinity being the largest concern for this freshwater dependent species. The additional monitoring work of various environmental parameters (including salinity) and other species (including macro invertebrates, the main food of this species) at Gwambygine Pool has provided reference points which are not available for any other study site for this species in Western Australia.”
Our early tortoise studies during 1990 together with the data collected in 2011 had trialled different marking systems to help identify individual tortoises during capture and release activities over a wide area. The latest 2012 / 2013 studies involved capture and release programmes at several pools in the York area, including Gwambygine, Bland’s, Tipperary, and One Mile Pools. Each tortoise captured in this study was microchipped for long lasting identification and as a means of determining longevity of species.
The River Conservation Society was generously assisted during these studies by the Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife and the University of Western Australia.