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Gnaraloo loggerhead turtle

Illegal camping increases at Gnaraloo in the southern Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area

Its tax time again, score your deduction! With the Australian financial year ending soon, reduce your tax liability by considering a donation to the Gnaraloo Wilderness Foundation before 30 June. Choose whether to make a once off donation or to become one of our financial members. All donations and memberships are tax deductible.

Sadly for the wildlife and heritage values of Gnaraloo, there has been increasing instances of illegal camping and 4WD activities within the fragile dunes and beaches here. This is despite there being adequate camping facilities available at the nearby business of 3Mile Camp and at the Gnaraloo Homestead area.

Illegal campers are bypassing these facilities as there seems to be a mindset and perception that “free camping” is now possible due to the Gnaraloo coast no longer being managed by the adjoining pastoralist. Tenure and management of the Gnaraloo coastline changed hands to the State Government in July 2015.

A ‘mini camp city’ that was set up by illegal campers during May 2022 on the southern Gnaraloo coastline (at the Heart Attacks location between 3Mile Camp and the Gnaraloo Homestead tourism accommodation area). The campers set up in fragile, but precious desert country, for a large party and gathering of people. This incident saw about 30 cars with 60 to 80 people illegally camped at the area for 2 nights. There is no cooking, toilet, waste or other infrastructure or management facilities where the illegal campers stayed.

Other instances of new damage from 4WD vehicles at very important loggerhead sea turtle beach nesting areas further to the north (at Gnaraloo Bay) during July 2021. There was no vehicle access or traffic here at all prior to 2015. The Gnaraloo beaches and dunes were previously maintained and strictly managed as completely vehicle-free for almost 4 decades. Illegal camping and 4WD activities now impact the entire Gnaraloo coastline as well as the important loggerhead turtle nesting beaches at Gnaraloo Bay and Gnaraloo Cape Farquhar.

The location of the illegal beach gatherings and the opportunity to camp there are being shared and promoted on social media.

This lack of respect shown by illegal campers on the Ningaloo coast at Gnaraloo and the flouting by some of the applicable rules within a world heritage listed reserve puts pressure on the fragile location and results in damage to environmental, national and world heritage values.

If the poor examples being set by illegal campers and some 4WD tourists are not addressed on-the-spot through the timely presence of Government rangers who issue fines to them, and it spreads to others who do the same, the situation could quickly become unmanageable where visitors and vehicles in the heritage listed Gnaraloo coast can no longer be controlled or responsibly managed to protect the environment.

The Gnaraloo coastline is being damaged by uncontrolled illegal tourism activities. This also impacts the Ningaloo Marine Park and the new Nyinggulu Coastal Reserves here in the Southern Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area.

These activities destroy the paleontological fossils, Aboriginal history and culture buried in Gnaraloo’s dunes, it damages nesting habitat of endangered species, it interrupts the natural activities of shore birds and multiple crab and other species, and it changes critically needed habitat in this spectacular wild area which sustains life.

Click the link below to see an overview of the Gnaraloo Wilderness Area.

Are the measures being put by Government into management of the Gnaraloo world heritage listing sufficient to protect this area? Illegal campers need to be picked up more frequently, fined-on-the-spot and moved on before they continue to unwittingly destroy and diminish what is sacred and spiritual ground for many. The rules apply equally and fairly to all, or so it should be, for the sake of wild Gnaraloo, its turtles and all of us, including our children, so that they may enjoy what we were otherwise allowed to destroy.

Stop the illegal activities to protect the unique Gnaraloo coastline!

As the only charity focused on the protection of the loggerhead turtles, we call on you to help them by doing the right thing on the Gnaraloo coast and staying in designated accommodation areas and on permissible tracks (click on the cool video below). We also encourage stronger management action to curtail the damaging activities.

Help our work to create loggerhead turtle nesting sanctuaries at Gnaraloo

READ the GWF’s “Notice of harm to Aboriginal and environmental heritage values at Gnaraloo Cape Farquhar, Southern Ningaloo Coast, National and World Heritage Area” (January 2021) here. This serious and long running issue has not been resolved as at June 2022 and the Farquhar turtles are still in harm’s way.

Thanks to people like you, we can continue our work to protect the Gnaraloo Wilderness Area. All of your donations to the Gnaraloo Wilderness Foundation are tax deductible.

Help Gnaraloo through an affordable financial membership (at the cost of a single coffee a week) and receive beautiful rewards! All membership fees are tax deductible too.

Various professionals support our work at greatly subsidised rates. Pay one of these invoices before 30 June 2022 and get a substantial tax deduction in return!

Speak or write to your local Member of Parliament to express your concerns about the damage being done to the Gnaraloo coastline, its turtle nesting areas as well as to the heritage values of the Gnaraloo Cape Farquhar Area and press for better resourcing and action to stop this.

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