Westy the Western Swamp Tortoise: Swan View author hopes book will educate Ellenbrook children about critically endangered critter


Cathy Levett with her book, which she hopes will help educate the younger generation on caring for native wildlife. Picture: Bruce Hunt d476771
Cathy Levett with her book, which she hopes will help educate the younger generation on caring for native wildlife. Picture: Bruce Hunt d476771

A SWAN View resident has written a children’s book about the critically endangered western swamp tortoise in the hope of educating the younger generation about caring for native wildlife.

The book Westy the Western Swamp Tortoise is a picture book using real photos of the species and tells the story of Westy from his time hatching at the Perth Zoo breeding program to being released in the swamp in Bullsbrook and learning how to survive.

Author Cathy Levett – a former primary school teacher and part of the Friends of the Western Swamp Tortoise group – wrote the book to help educate children during presentations at schools.

Levett said the best way to communicate with children about issues was through books.

“There wasn’t a book that would do the job we wanted, so I decided to do it myself,” she said.

“I’m really chuffed about how the book has been received. It’s the first book I’ve written and sharing books with children has always been a passion of mine, so to write one that will also help raise awareness is a dream.”

The western swamp tortoise was thought extinct for 100 years when in 1953 two were found on the side of a road in Bullsbrook.

Since then work has gone into ensuring their survival, with the species expected to be taken off the critically endangered list in the next five years.

Proceeds from the book will go towards Friends of the Western Swamp Tortoise and helping improve educational tools and programs.

She said she wanted the book to reflect how important it was to protect our unique wildlife and send a message.

“The big thing is we want this species to be an example of how to care for all animals and that if you work together you can save an animal from becoming extinct,” she said.

“It’s especially important to the people in Ellenbrook, but everyone around WA, Australia and the world to reduce pollution in our waterways and not to develop every spare piece of land we have because we are losing so many of our beautiful wildlife as a result.”

The group will donated a book to every primary school in Ellenbrook and a copy to each City of Swan library in early 2018 to help raise awareness.

Westy the Western Swamp Tortoise can be purchased from www.westernswamptortoise.com.au.

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