‘Turtle Trackers’ Citizen Science Program and associated ‘Turtle Watch’ Educational Program are ongoing programs run by the City of Cockburn. These programs are dedicated to providing information about the turtles. They also encourage the community to participate in turtle watching and report sightings in support of scientific research.
Turtle Trackers is a partnership between Murdoch University, The Wetlands Centre Cockburn, WA Wildlife (formerly Native ARC), Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), Regional Park within DBCA and the City of Cockburn. This project aims to involve the community in its protection efforts. Turtle Tracker volunteers track nesting female turtles around Bibra Lake during peak nesting season (September to November), log information about turtle sightings and behaviour, and help install nesting cages to protect hatchlings.
During the 2018/19 nesting season, 135 nests were found predated around Bibra Lake. This was the catalyst for the Turtle Trackers program. In 2019, the Turtle Trackers program was created and volunteer Turtle Trackers conducted patrols on 44 different days during the peak nesting season. Nesting was observed on several of those days, and the Native ARC managed to protect these nests with specially installed nesting cages. Data on turtle behaviour and movement were also successfully recorded and contributed to scientific research. So far, it has shown that community involvement could be a key part of saving species that may not be adapting to urban environments.
To get involved, you can join the Turtle Watch
program or volunteer as a Turtle Tracker for the 2020/21 nesting season by sending the Environmental Team an email