Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund manager Nicolas Heard accepts a gift of chocolate Mary River turtles and other momentos from Marilyn Connell at the Al Barba Restaurant in Dubai.
Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund manager Nicolas Heard accepts a gift of chocolate Mary River turtles and other momentos from Marilyn Connell at the Al Barba Restaurant in Dubai. Contributed

Prince to help turtles

THANKS to a Winston Churchill Fellowship, Tiaro Landcare’s chocolate turtles have spread well beyond the Mary River and as a result turtle conservation work is now being funded by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

Marilyn Connell has just returned from her Churchill Fellowship overseas tour where she and Tiaro Landcare member Debbie Brischke visited community turtle conservation projects in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates and Brazil.

Each of their hosts was presented with packets of chocolate turtles and mementos from the Fraser Coast, Ms Connell said.

“I had arranged to meet Nicolas Heard at the Al Barba Restaurant in Dubai to chat about our project,” she said.

“We could hardly believe our ears when Nicolas told us he would pass the chocolate turtles on to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

“Nicolas is the fund manager of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund established by His Highness.”

The fund supports conservation of all kinds of plants and animals throughout the globe. Tiaro Landcare was the first Australian group to receive a grant from this fund.

“It is a huge honour for our Landcare group to have such international interest in our work,” Tiaro Landcare president Ron Black said.

“It is a shame that we haven’t been able to source Australian funds but have had to search for international funds to help conserve one of our local endangered species.”

This year’s project is in full swing, with the early spring rains providing ideal nesting conditions.

So far, 22 nests have been protected. Without protection, each of the clutches could have fallen prey to predators.

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