What is track monitoring?
The NTP is a track-monitoring program, we do not currently tag turtles. Our program uses a standard ‘morning after’ beach survey technique whereby trained volunteers walk defined sections of beach at sunrise to determine the nesting activities from the night before. We record:
- locations and numbers of nests and false crawls, from each species
- the number and location of disturbed nests, and cause of disturbance
- presence of introduced predator tracks like foxes and cats
- tagged turtle re-sightings
- turtle strandings and mortalities,
- and we rescue any turtles that may need our help.
The data is entered into a centralised database that allows for comparisons within and between years. A summary report is generated at the end of each season to monitor trends and allow for management of any issues or threats to the turtles.
Where and when do we monitor?
A typical season involves:
- Early Nov to early Dec – 3 weekends of monitoring prior to the peak of the season
- Mid Dec to mid Jan – 4 weeks of intensive, daily monitoring over the peak of the laying season
- Late Jan to late Feb – 3 weekends of monitoring after the peak of the season
We also do 28 days of peak season monitoring on a 5km stretch of beach located just north of Yardie Creek, in Cape Range National Park. This is the most significant mainland rookery for loggerhead turtles in the Eastern Indian Ocean basin!
More remote rookeries including Janes Bay (greens and loggerheads) and Gnarraloo Bay (loggerheads) are also sporadically monitored.