On the track of turtle routes

Alexander ScottPilbara News
Scientists have found green turtles use two common migration routes in the Pilbara and the Kimberley.
Camera IconScientists have found green turtles use two common migration routes in the Pilbara and the Kimberley. Credit: Supplied/Australian Institute of Marine Science

A study of the nesting habits of nearly 100 female green turtles has found two common migration routes used by the animals in WA’s North West region.

The study led by the Australian Institute of Marine Science tagged 20 female green turtles to analyse their nesting and migration habits at WA beaches, combining the data with 76 turtles tagged in previous studies.

It also used data from previous research by the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, INPEX, Woodside Energy and Pendoley Environmental.

The research found there are two common migratory corridors used by green turtles after nesting season — one near the Dampier Archipelago in the Pilbara and the other between the Maret Islands and Bougainville Peninsula in the Kimberley.

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AIMS ecologist Dr Michele Thums said the ultimate goal in mapping the green turtle distribution was to help reduce the species’ potential interactions with human activities in the North West.

Dr Thums said by working with industry and the DBCA they were able to compile data from almost 100 tracked turtles for our analysis.

DBCA research scientist Dr Sabrina Fossette said the research would help inform the management of the endangered green turtles.

“We have a good idea of where green turtles nest in WA but until now we didn’t know a lot about where they go when they leave those areas,” she said.

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