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Turtle monitoring at Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park

Flatback turtle tracks Eighty Mile Beach
Flatback turtle tracks Eighty Mile Beach Parks and Wildlife

It’s a remote stretch of beach in the west Kimberley, but that doesn’t stop dedicated volunteers from recording the activities of nesting flatback turtles to help conserve and understand the species.

Turtle track monitoring has been conducted at Eighty Mile Beach, a 220km stretch of sand located between Cape Missiessy and Cape Keraudren, for 10 years.

Department of Parks and Wildlife visitor interpretation officer Sara McAllister said the Eighty Mile Beach Turtle Monitoring Program, jointly funded by the department and BHP Billiton Iron Ore, had expanded in 2014 to include satellite tagging of some mature flatbacks.

“In a collaborative effort between Parks and Wildlife regional staff and marine scientists, Karajarri rangers and Nyangumarta traditional owners, satellite trackers were attached to 10 flatback turtles,” Ms McAllister said.

“We have seen one turtle return to the ocean and come up to the beach again to nest two weeks after the transmitter was attached.

“Each of the tagged turtles has been named and members of the public can track their movements on the seaturtle.org website.”

This year’s monitoring program began in mid-October and featured more than 100 volunteers, including guests staying at the Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park, local residents and Broome-based volunteers, assisting with night monitoring.

“Thirty turtles were observed laying eggs and after their nests were marked, remote cameras were installed to monitor predator activity and nest disturbance,” Ms McAllister said.

“More than 1200 turtle activities, including nesting and false crawls, have been observed this season, which is consistent with data recorded in previous years.

“The beach, which lies within Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park, is a significant flatback turtle (Natator depressus) rookery.”

The Eighty Mile Beach Turtle Monitoring Program is a collaborative project of the Department of Parks and Wildlife and the traditional owners of Eighty Mile Beach, and is jointly funded by Parks and Wildlife and BHP Billiton Iron Ore.

View the movements of the Eighty Mile Beach flatbacks at  

http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/index.shtml?project_id=1053.

Watch a video of The Turtle Nesting Experience at Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park at www.dpaw.wa.gov.au

 

Media contact: Parks and Wildlife Media 9219 9999

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Twitter: @WAPARKSWILDLIFE

Last modified on Thursday, 08 January 2015 08:36