Turtle Monitoring

For thousands of years before settlers arrived in Australia these turtles nested and hatched successfully, with only minimal predation from dingoes and goannas during the egg incubation phase. Following the introduction of pigs in the 1800s, turtle rookeries began to witness a new pressure: nest predation caused by pigs.  

The APN Cape York Ranger program has considerably advanced knowledge and preservation of the colony of sea turtles that find home on the Southern Wik Homelands.

Prior to the commencement of the APN Cape York Ranger program surveys of sea turtle nests were done by planes flying over the beaches with someone recording what they saw from the air.  APN Cape York’s first survey of the turtles occurred in June 2012. APN Cape York efforts were assisted by Cape York Sustainable Futures and CSIRO providing scientific support.

The rangers were taught how to identify and count the number of sea turtles that came up at night time and also identify feral pig damage to nests that were marked for observation. Each night the nests were marked and the following morning checked to see if any animals had disturbed the nest or dug it up. The rangers were also taught how to identify what animal had disturbed the nest.

With more knowledge, a more complete evidentiary picture emerged. In 2015 a new population of Hawksbill turtles was discovered that was thought to be eliminated from the area. Significant Goanna predation was reported for the first time. Baiting was confined to dogs and as a result, pig predation increased. In 2016, APN Cape York introduced grate barriers atop the nests to abate predation.

Although grateful for past assistance, APN Cape York has applied for further Nest to Ocean funding to be able to independently continue its work with CSIRO.


Help us save the sea turtle

Your donation helps us to continue our work, monitoring and protecting sea turtle nests

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