Welcome to Orueta Marsh! A new specimen of the Iberian pond turtle discovered in Orueta

Monday, 11 July 2022 15:00

article tortugasWho is the newcomer to the Orueta marshes? Why is he so welcome?

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Every year at this time, turtle populations in the Orueta marshes are monitored by Xabier Buenetxea and Jokin Álvarez .

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There are two native species. First there is the Iberian Pond Turtle, (Mauremys leprosa) of which 7 individuals have been identified and marked in Orueta.

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Iberian Pond Turtle

Then there is European Pond Turtle (Emys orbicularis), of which just one has been found.

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European Pond Turtle

This week as monitoring was being carried out an unmarked Iberian Pond Turtle was discovered. Xabier and Jokin explain that this is very important. For three years no new turtles have been found. In order for a population to remain viable it needs new members so the unmarked individual brings hope.

Both the Iberian and European pond turtles are under threat from habitat loss and competition from invasive species. The monitoring team removed 17 turtles which were invasive species between 2017 and 2019. Since then no more have been found, which is good news. The preservation of wetlands and the monitoring of populations is essential to protect native turtles.

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We hope the new member of the Iberian Pond Turtle population finds a safe haven here in Orueta and is able to breed successfully.



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