Gnaraloo Turtle Conservation Program

Sea turtle populations are declining worldwide. Gnaraloo’s conservation efforts support the third largest loggerhead turtle population in the world.

Turtle jobs and scientific internships

GTCP PROGRAM ASSISTANT

We appoint a Program Assistant to be part of the program each year, generally from October to June. The Program Assistant manages the GTCP field team and works onsite as part of the team to undertake daily surveys of turtle nesting and feral animal activities in the monitored rookeries, community and school participation with the program, data analysis, scientific reporting and other office work. The Program Assistant receives work instructions, direction and guidance from the offsite GTCP Project Manager, an experienced environmental scientist, who also manages Gnaraloo’s Environmental Office.

The program interprets and works mainly with turtle and feral animal tracks. Work includes daily turtle surveys with day and night patrols. Feral animal tracks are monitored daily to report on the presence of threats in monitored rookeries for adaptive management. Office work involves daily data entry, data QA/QC, data management and analysis, preparation of the annual scientific report with GIS maps and other wide program responsibilities, including promotion through web postings and media articles. The GTCP field team also hosts and interacts with community and school groups during onsite educational field excursions and through presentations in regional Western Australia and the Perth metropolitan area.

The Program Assistant work in Perth, Gnaraloo and regional and metropolitan locations in Western Australia.

The job ad is advertised on the  GTCP Facebook page generally during March to April.

Gnaraloo Turtle Conservation Program assistant

GTCP SCIENTIFIC INTERNS

We appoint interns to be part of the program each year, generally from October to May. The interns work, under direction and guidance, as part of the GTCP field team to undertake daily surveys of turtle nesting and feral animal activities in the monitored rookeries, community and school participation with the program, data analysis, scientific reporting and other office work. All work by the GTCP field team is co-ordinated and managed by the site based GTCP Program Assistant and offsite GTCP Project Manager, an experienced environmental scientist, who also manages Gnaraloo’s Environmental Office.

The interns work in Perth, Gnaraloo and regional and metropolitan locations in Western Australia.

The job ad is advertised on the  GTCP Facebook page generally during March to April.

conservation-gtcp-interns

Overview

The scientific Gnaraloo Turtle Conservation Program (GTCP) identifies, monitors and protects key coastal nesting rookeries of endangered sea turtles on Gnaraloo beaches, namely loggerhead (Caretta caretta), green (Chelonia mydas) and possibly hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbrictata) turtles. On-ground monitoring surveys commenced in 2008, along with the accompanying protective  Gnaraloo Feral Animal Control Program (GFACP). The Gnaraloo rookeries are significant mainland nesting areas for loggerheads in Western Australia.

conservation-gtcp-seaturtles

The Gnaraloo turtle and feral animal control programs target matters of national environmental significance under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Australia), namely: (1) nationally significant species in the form of threatened fauna in the category of endangered and vulnerable reptiles and (2) key threatening processes namely feral predation of turtle eggs and hatchlings by European red fox (Vulpes vulpes), feral cats and wild dogs. The GTCP collects baseline data on sea turtle nesting activities along the Gnaraloo coastline to identify significance, trends and required management activity to protect endangered marine species and critical coastal nesting habitat. It also trains young professionals and engages the community and schools in conservation activity.


The turtle tracking and monitoring methodology used by the Gnaraloo Turtle Conservation Program is based on the Ningaloo Turtle Program in Exmouth.

conservation-gtcp-returningtotheocean

Turtle nesting and feral predation activities are monitored at the Gnaraloo rookeries from 1 November - 28 February each year, with 4 months of daily surveys on foot of targeted beaches (for 7 days per week, including day and night surveys). The work is undertaken by seasonal GTCP field research teams which include scientific interns from Australia and all over the world who are appointed under the GTCP Scientific Internship Program. Universities, Honours and PhD students also conduct their own research projects on sea turtles and other subjects in the Gnaraloo rookeries.

The Gnaraloo Turtle Conservation Program is privately funded and managed by the Gnaraloo Station Trust. The program is also supported by other partners and entities.

conservation-gtcp-hatchlings

Scientific data and reports

There are currently two monitored survey areas on Gnaraloo: the Gnaraloo Bay Rookery and the Gnaraloo Cape Farquhar Rookery which are both located in the southern section of the Ningaloo Marine Park. Sea turtle species which been recorded as nesting in these rookeries include endangered loggerhead (Caretta caretta), endangered green (Chelonia mydas) and possibly critically endangered hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) turtles. Loggerheads are the dominant nesting species in both rookeries.

Ningaloo sea turtle tracks

The Gnaraloo Bay Rookery is a significant mainland (as opposed to island) nesting rookery for loggerheads in Western Australia. 

Gnaraloo turtle returning to the ocean

The first ever on-ground reconnaissance surveys of the Gnaraloo Cape Farquhar Rookery were undertaken during 2011/12 after aerial surveys conducted by the GTCP during 2009/10 and 2010/11. The on-ground surveys recorded the majority of nesting activities as loggerheads, but green turtles also used the rookery for nesting purposes. The majority of research questions concerning the Gnaraloo Cape Farquhar Rookery cannot yet be answered, including: (1) the seasonal number of turtle nests at the rookery; (2) the start, peak and end of the turtle nesting period at the rookery; and (3) the relationship, if any, between the Gnaraloo Bay Rookery and the Gnaraloo Cape Farquhar Rookery as it is possible that sea turtles use both locations for mating, nesting, foraging and/or resting purposes.

The research and data collected by the GTCP are provided to Government agencies (State and Australian) who are responsible for decision-making on environmental protection and conservation, universities (country wide), sea turtle experts and made publicly available.

To view the annual reports of the GTCP since 2008/09, choose from the list of reports on the right .

Impression

Support the program

You can support the conservation initiatives of "the Gnaraloo Station Trust" by spending your next holiday at Gnaraloo, as a percentage of all Gnaraloo’s income funds these initiatives to ensure their operation and continuation.

Gnaraloo Homestead

3Mile Camp