The Ningaloo Turtle Program (NTP) is a volunteer turtle monitoring program based in Exmouth, WA. It is a collaboration between the Department of Parks and Wildlife and the local Cape Conservation Group, with Woodside providing significant program funding each season.
NTP volunteers work together to contribute about 3500 hours of their own time to turtle conservation. They monitor the activity of the green, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles in the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area, as well as recording any nest disturbance and rescuing turtles when required.
Turtle monitoring is almost over for another season, with only three local monitoring weekends to go. During the 2015-16 season the program has seen 39 members of the local Exmouth community participate, as well as 16 volunteers from the UK, USA, New Zealand and multiple locations throughout Australia.
So far the recorded data is indicating a low level of activity by the green turtle, which is the most predominant nesting species along the North West Cape. Loggerhead turtles are the most predominant species within the Cape Range National Park rookery and this species has seen relatively high activity levels in comparison to other years. Activity levels for the Hawksbill turtle are variable each season, but the last trend analysis indicates a significant positive in hawksbill turtle track counts throughout the Ningaloo region.
This season, NTP has so far recorded a low level of nest disturbance (<1%) and no fox predation, which the Department of Parks and Wildlife attributes to the ongoing feral animal control efforts of the Department.
The last monitoring day is at the end of February 2016. If you would like to get involved, visit the program's website: www.ningalooturtles.org.au.
Images courtesy of Adam Thompson, Department of Parks and Wildlife.