Looking for Turtles in the Remote North Kimberley
NWSFTCP staff assisted the Wunumbal Gaambera rangers to look for hawksbill turtle nesting in the north Kimberley in November. Although unsuccessful in finding hawksbills, satellite transmitters were applied to three green turtles. To see their homeward migration routes, go to: http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/?project_id=1379&dyn=1639540726
Regional consensus of sea turtle conservation in the Kimberley
Eight coastal Native Title groups across the Kimberley have collaborated under the banner of the Indigenous Saltwater Advisory Group (ISWAG) to develop a turtle and dugong plan to look after the animals and their habitats. DBCA and the NWSFTCP are proud to be part of this journey and look forward to any collaborations in the future.
NWSFTCP staff and volunteers are having a successful monitoring season so far on Thevenard Island. In addition to tagging nesting female turtles, the team has successfully marked 30 nests which will be revisited in February to assess the hatching success of the flatback turtles. The team was joined by 9 students and 3 teachers from Onslow School and were able to educate the kids about nesting flatback turtles and the challenges faced by the hatchlings once the eggs have been laid.
NWSFTCP staff and volunteers were out at Delambre Island from mid-November. The ongoing partnership with traditional owners continued with Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation employees Korree, Jessop and Remarley assisting with monitoring this year. The team was also joined by six students and two teachers from Roebourne District High School during some very hot conditions on the island. The students were able to see nesting flatback turtles and some of the challenges of working on country.
NWSFTCP and Nyamba Buru Yawuru (NBY) rangers partnered to monitor flatback turtles at Ecobeach in the southern reaches of Roebuck Bay Marine Park. Wil Bennett, the RBMP coordinator visited when volunteers were still sparse.
Male and female NBY ranger teams were trained to use double PIT tags (microchips like those used to identify dogs) in flatback turtles. The tags are a more permanent identification method than traditional titanium flipper tags which don’t stay on well in flatbacks.
Tablets were used for electronic digital data capture and entry to minimize transcription errors on paperwork. An all-terrain vehicle was able to meet the patrol challenges during the 9-10 m king tides, which are some the highest in the Kimberley and preclude regular 4WD beach passage.
Data capture system
Turtle monitoring data were captured at Thevenard, Delambre, and other locations across WA in a fully digital data collection system. Electronic forms used Open Data Kit - an open-source software that allows data to be captured on mobile devices in the field, then fed in near real-time into DBCA systems, providing daily updated reports.
We would like to thank all our volunteers and staff for their contributions to this year's monitoring efforts and hope to see you out in the field again in the future.