In mid March, rangers from the Torres Strait Regional Authority worked alongside the Queensland Department of Environment and Science to put 3 satellite tags onto hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) nesting on Aukane Island, in the Central Islands Cluster of the Torres Strait. The project was done in partnership with the Masigalgal, Traditional Owners who are part of the Kulkalgal Nation.
Tracking these turtles, will provide valuable information about where the turtles nesting in this area spend their time between nesting seasons. Often we only encounter turtles when they are nesting, but to better protect them, it is important to understand where they go to feed during other parts of their life cycle.
Research conducted in the northern Great Barrier Reef over the past two decades indicates that hawksbill turtle populations are in serious decline and in early 2017, the species was declared ‘Endangered’ under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act.
One of the satellite trackers was provided by Sea Turtle Foundation thanks to a generous donation from The Northern Trust Asset Management. The turtle was named ‘Jessie Ella’* after a local girl from nearby Masig Island. The local community will be able to keep tabs on where the turtle travels here on the Sea Turtle Foundation website.
You can track the movements of this turtle on the map below. (Hover your mouse over any point to see the time and date that the turtle was in that location.)
A second satellite tracker provided through support from the Northern Trust Asset Management will be put onto an endangered olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) on western Cape York during the dry season nesting period (August).
* This name of this turtle was previously listed as ‘Urab’ but this was incorrect