Status review, disease risk analysis and conservation action plan for the Bellinger River snapping turtle (Myuchelys georgesi)
The Bellinger River Snapping Turtle (BRST) (Myuchelys georgesi) is a freshwater turtle endemic to a 60 km stretch of the Bellinger River, and possibly a portion of the nearby Kalang River in coastal north eastern New South Wales (NSW). In mid-February, 2015 a significant mortality event was observed in BRSTs. Prior to the 2015 mortality event, the BRST was described as locally abundant, but now the BRST population is currently listed as Critically Endangered. Since the mortality event a disease investigation has identified a virus as the agent most likely to be responsible for the mortality event. In November 2016, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage brought 16 experts from eight organisations to Taronga Zoo in Sydney, to discuss and recommend next steps in the recovery of BRSTs, based on their agreed interpretation of the information gathered to date.