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TO mark tomorrow’s International World Turtle Day, eco-friendly wine brand Banrock Station has today announced a new partnership with conservation organisation WWF-Australia to help preserve Australia’s world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef and its wildlife.

Through the Banrock Station Environmental Trust, Banrock Station will contribute $750,000 to the Rivers to Reef to Turtles research initiative, a four-year program that will seek to identify and measure the key pollutants in rivers, the Great Barrier Reef and in green turtles themselves.

Since 1995, Banrock Station has supported vital conservation efforts across the world.

To date, the Banrock Station Environmental Trust has donated approximately $5 million to more than 130 projects in 13 countries.

Banrock Station wetland manager and Banrock Station Environmental Trust panel member Dr Christophe Tourenq has more than 20 years’ experience in research and environmental management, including the first comprehensive regional study of sea turtles in the Arabian Peninsula using satellite tracking.

He says the research will be critical to understanding potential impacts on the Reef and for turtle conservation.

“This new partnership is an incredibly rewarding opportunity to support WWF-Australia in an effort to understand the threats to one of the most iconic Australian ecosystems and its native marine wildlife, and help to find solutions to protect it,” Dr Tourenq said.

“Key to our philosophy is helping consumers make a genuine contribution to conservation projects, and this particular project is something everyone in Australia can relate to.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity to make a difference for the Great Barrier Reef, one of the richest and most productive ecosystems in Australia.”

Marine wildlife, like the vulnerable green sea turtle, require clean water to survive and an abundance of seagrass and coral to live and eat. Initiatives the project hopes to address include:

  • Identifying and measuring priority pollutants in rivers, the Great Barrier Reef and turtles
  • Contributing to the understanding of how sources and impacts of pollution are likely to put turtles and wider ecosystem health at risk.

WWF-Australia’s national manager for species, terrestrial and indigenous partnerships, Darren Grover said pollution is a key threat to the Great Barrier Reef.

“Our world heritage listed Reef has lost nearly half of its coral cover since 1985, and pollution has been a major driver of this decline,” Mr Grover said.

“This new initiative will help us better understand the links between water quality and green turtle health in the Great Barrier Reef. It will also inform baseline data for turtle health and help to improve efforts to manage runoff into the Reef.

“World Turtle Day is all about highlighting the threat these incredible animals are under across the globe. Tragically, we still don’t know a great deal about the green sea turtle so this research project will help us in the race against time to find out more before it’s too late.”

For more information on the research project, and other projects funded by the Banrock Station Environmental Trust, visit www.banrockstation.com.au.

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