A rookery with 300 turtle nests per season is considered to be a significant turtle…
On 26 November 2010, immediately after finishing my annual exams at Murdoch University, I left Perth to travel north to Exmouth for formal training in turtle track monitoring protocols under the Ningaloo Turtle Program (NTP), that is operated by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) and the Cape Conservation Group Inc (CCG). I stopped off in Carnarvon on the way to pick up Gnaraloo’s Turtle Team Leader 2010/11, Matt Boureau, to also undergo the training. We arrived in Exmouth around 3:30am and started training the following day.
The training occurred over 3 days. The first day we were trained by Jack, a local community volunteer. We started at 5:30am, covering the beach from Graveyards to Burrows, and were introduced to turtle tracking and trained on protocol and data management procedures. We successfully identified 11 turtle tracks, with 6 successful and 5 unsuccessful nesting attempts. Of the successful nesting attempts, there was 1 set of Loggerhead (Caretta Caretta) tracks and 5 sets of Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) tracks.
The second day was led by Brooke, a turtle trainer who is also involved with DEC’s fox baiting program within Cape Range National Park. We began at 7:00am and saw a lot more turtle activity than the previous day. We tracked the beach from 5Mile to Trisel and experienced the difficulty of tracking a number of turtles that all emerge simultaneously on the same section of beach! We ended up identifying 5 successful Green turtle nesting attempts and 10 unsuccessful nesting attempts.
The third day of training was undertaken by Suzie who has been with the NTP for over 8 years. At the end of the day, we were relieved to successfully have completed the final assessment component of our training program.
We left Exmouth for Gnaraloo on the following day, where we met with Marie to continue the season’s data collection and monitoring program.