It’s not every day you get to help create a home for Australia’s most endangered reptile, but recently four volunteers from Midland Brick did just that, digging deep to plant out the ponds in our new Western Swamp Tortoise breeding complex.

The team worked alongside Senior Keeper, Lesley Shaw and planted 178 seedlings in eight ponds, all of which are adapted to wetland conditions, and perfect for these swamp loving creatures. The plants are super-important for not only providing shelter and shade for the Tortoises, but they will attract insects, providing live feed for them!

The Western Swamp Tortoise was once thought to be extinct until a schoolboy made a chance discovery in the 1950s. In the 1980s there was estimated to be less than 30 Western Swamp Tortoises left in the wild, but thanks to the efforts of Perth Zoo and Parks and Wildlife, new populations have been established in the Moore River Nature Reserve, Mogumber Nature Reserve, Ellen Brook Nature Reserve and the Twin Swamps Nature Reserve.

Perth Zoo has the single biggest population of Western Swamp Tortoise found anywhere in the world. In fact we’ve bred over 800 Western Swamp Tortoise and released more than 600 back to the wild!

Our new breeding complex will care for over 200 of these little guys at any one time, giving them a fighting chance at survival. Without the breeding program which takes place here at Perth Zoo, it is likely that this species would no longer be on our planet.