Chance to name a turtle
Turtle season is here and providing lots of activities for researchers, volunteers and others to get involved in.
Department of Parks and Wildlife marine scientists and volunteers have starting tagging turtles on Thevenard Island, 22km off the coast of Onslow, as part of a pilot program whereby the island culd become a long-term monitoring location for the species.
The group will spend the next month collecting data, checking turtle tracks and tagging female turtles as part of the North West Shelf Flatback Turtle Conservation Program, which monitors North West Shelf flatback turtles found off the Pilbara and south-west Kimberley coasts.
Thevenard Island project leader Sabrina Fossette-Halot said the program would assess the size of flatback turtles nesting on the island and tag females to record their movements during and after nesting season.
“The data will contribute to a broader understanding of the ecology and demography of the Pilbara flatback turtle stock,” she said.
Thevenard Island, a 550ha nature reserve, is an important Pilbara nesting site for flatbacks and green and hawksbill turtles.
Flatbacks are classified as vulnerable under the WA Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, and worldwide there is a lack of data about the species.
In Exmouth, another marine research team tagging turtles is asking for help, to name its research participants. The BHP Billiton-CSIRO Ningaloo Outlook program will be tagging nesting female marine turtles early next year to collect information on migration patterns and nesting locations.
But the tagged turtles will need names to identify them, and researchers have turned to the public for help with a turtle naming competition.
To suggest a turtle name, go to research.csiro.au/ningaloo/dont-need-home-id-likename/.
Locals are being asked to come up with their best turtle name suggestions for a Ningaloo Outlook tagging program.