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Fly River Turtle history

Like many shy turtles, the Fly River Turtle was once thought to be quite rare. Now, however, it is known that the Fly River Turtle is quite common in its range, although its numbers are decreasing. The Fly River Turtle can be found on the Strickland, Morehead, Kikori, and Fly Rivers of New Guinea. They can also be found in Irian Jaya and in the Daly River region of Australia. While seeing a Fly River Turtle in Australia is a rare occurrence, there is evidence in the form of eggs lodged with the Victorian Museum, indicating that the Fly River Turtle has been breeding in Australia since 1918. Aboriginal rock paintings that date back 7000 years suggest that the Fly River Turtle, or a species very much like it, has lived in Australia for thousands of years. The Fly River Turtle, while relatively common where it is found, is decreasing in numbers. One reason the population is dropping is that many indigenous people in Australia and New Guinea think of the Fly River Turtle as a gourmet food item and collect both the eggs and the adult turtles. Aboriginal men in Australia used to spear the turtles out of the water by climbing trees near the banks and waiting for the turtles to surface. Now, they are usually caught on lines baited with buffalo meat. Fly River Turtles are also threatened by feral water buffalo. The buffalo use the same banks the turtles nest in as access to water and as places to rest during the night. The buffalo tramples the nests and the vegetation, from which the turtles feed. Mining activities are also responsible for the decrease in population of the Fly River Turtle.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Fly_River_Turtle".
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