Wayward rescued sea turtles released off Exmouth

Twenty-one juvenile loggerhead turtles that washed ashore along the south-west coast will today be flown from Perth to Exmouth to be released into Ningaloo Marine Park.

The release is part of a joint effort by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), the community and rehabilitation centres to help conserve the critically endangered species, with only an estimated 1500 to 2000 females known to nest annually in WA.

The juvenile turtles drifted ashore during storms over the past 18 months after travelling southwards in the Leeuwin current, and were reported to DBCA by community members.

DBCA Parks and Wildlife Service wildlife officer Cameron Craigie said the turtles had received intensive medical care at Perth Zoo before being rehabilitated at AQWA and the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre.

“These young turtles normally wouldn’t come ashore for several decades until they are ready to breed, but thanks to the exceptional care provided to them, and the support of Qantas Freight, they will now be able to return to the sea and hopefully become mature breeding adults,” he said.

 

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Murujuga World Heritage nomination in the spotlight

The bid to progress the Murujuga World Heritage nomination is advancing, with the first meeting of a newly formed Murujuga World Heritage Committee in Karratha today.

The committee includes representatives from the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (MAC) and traditional owner groups, State and Federal governments and The University of Western Australia's Centre for Rock Art Research and Management.

The heritage committee will work to capture the unique cultural, spiritual and archaeological values of Murujuga, which is home to one of the world's highest concentration of rock art engravings, or petroglyphs.

It will provide ongoing advice and direction on the World Heritage nomination to ensure that the area's values are clearly articulated and embodied in the World Heritage nomination.

 

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Public comment sought on draft joint management plan for Ningaloo Coast

Public comment is being sought on the draft joint management plan for the proposed conservation and recreation reserves along the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Coast.The Nyinggulu (Ningaloo) coastal reserves draft joint management plan 2019 covers 70,400 hectares of coast, including the terrestrial portion of Ningaloo Marine Park and adjacent unallocated Crown land from Red Bluff to Winderabandi.

The creation of the proposed reserves will enable conservation of the significant natural and cultural values along the coast, and importantly provide ongoing access and recreational opportunities for all Western Australians and other visitors.

The area will be jointly managed by the Gnulli native title claimants and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, with an Indigenous Land Use Agreement expected to be finalised this year.

The draft management plan is available at https://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au and open for comment until May 14, 2019.

 

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$22 million funding boost for prescribed burning

The McGowan Government is delivering a $22 million funding boost to DBCA's Enhanced Prescribed Burning Program over four years, via the 2019-20 State Budget.

This is in addition to the department's annual prescribed burning budget allocation of $11 million for the south-west of the State.

Research shows that prescribed burning is effective in reducing the frequency and size of bushfires in the forests of south-west Western Australia when at least 45 per cent of the landscape has a fuel age of less than six years since last burnt.

To realise this target in the three south-west forest regions it manages, DBCA's Parks and Wildlife Service aims to prescribe burn at least 200,000 hectares each financial year.

 

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