West Pilbara Turtle Program launches for 2019-20

Shannon BeattiePilbara News
Volunteers Oliver, 12 and Spencer Green, 10, at the launch of the West Pilbara Turtle Program on Sunday.
Camera IconVolunteers Oliver, 12 and Spencer Green, 10, at the launch of the West Pilbara Turtle Program on Sunday. Credit: Jasmine Green

Efforts to protect turtles in the City of Karratha have started again with the launch of the 2019/20 West Pilbara Turtle Program on Sunday.

The turtle monitoring runs from October-April and is made possible thanks to an ongoing partnership between the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Rio Tinto and community volunteers.

DBCA West Pilbara Turtle Program co-ordinator Sarah McDonald said the flatback turtle, which the program monitored in Wickham, only nested in Australia and the Pilbara was a really important area for it.

“They’re listed as vulnerable on State and national threatened species list and data-deficient on international threatened species list, which is why programs like ours are so important,” she said.

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“Our role is to monitor the nesting to determine if there’s been any changes and manage the local nesting beaches to protect and conserve the flatback turtles in the area.”

Rio Tinto has sponsored the West Pilbara Turtle Program for 14 years. General manger ports Cape Lambert Chris Osborn said he was happy to announce the further commitment.

“Following the feedback we received from the CSIRO Local Voices surveys, we’re prioritising our investments into key themes which are important to the local communities in which we live and work,” he said.

The program also educates the public about practical things they can do to help, including not driving on turtle-nesting beaches, not using lights, and keeping pets away.

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