International recognition for turtle conservation program

At this year’s International Sea Turtle Symposium, the President’s award went to the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions’ North West Shelf Flatback Turtle Program.

The award recognised a team effort to conduct an effective program across a diverse range of scientific research topics, establishing monitoring programs, mitigating threats such as fox control and continuing education and training programs.

Specifically mentioned were activities to engage Traditional Owners and develop collaborative projects, the ability of the program to leverage funds and in-kind support from industry, universities and private industry, and the huge amount of innovative research that has come out of the program.

North West Shelf Flatback Turtle Conservation Program. Photo credit: Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

The Symposium brought together, virtually, individuals and organisations involved in sea turtle conservation from sixty-five countries.

Flatbacks (Natator depressus) are the main species monitored by the West Pilbara Turtle Program – a partnership between DBCA’s Parks and Wildlife Service and Rio Tinto.

The monitoring occurs on sandy beaches near Wickham and Cleaverville, and this year it seemed Bells Beach was the place to be for nesting flatback turtles, with the most turtles nesting on record.

Program coordinator Sarah McDonald said the record result coincided with growing interest in volunteering for track monitoring.

The North West Shelf Flatback Turtle Conservation Program is providing invaluable insight into the lives and breeding habits of flatback turtles in Western Australian waters. Hear more about this important program and these magnificent creatures by watching this video.

You can also find out more about this fantastic program or get involved at