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.
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.
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.