A mangguru (marine turtle) tagged by a Kimberley Aboriginal ranger group is providing critical insight into the threatened species’ migratory habits across northern Australia.
Gurdulu, Wunambal Gaambera for turtle shell, is one of three turtles tagged by Uunguu rangers in the for north Kimberley to monitor the health of the species in Australian and International waters.
Since tagging, Gurdulu has migrated more than 2600km from Wunambal Gaambera country to the Wellesley Island Group on the Queensland side of the Gulf of Carpenteria.
As part of the research, Uunguu Rangers and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions marine scientists have rangers surveyed turtle nesting beaches and collected genetic samples.
Uunguu Ranger Damon Bundamurra said getting up close to the turtles was rewarding.
“It was so good to be up close and next to the turtles,” he said.
“We camped on Jones Island for two nights and had to stay up all night walking around.
‘So when the turtles did head out to sea it was really exciting.”
Of the two other tagged turtles, one has settled at Garg Gunack Barlu National Park in the Top End’s Cobourg Peninsula, and the other is swimming east near Darwin.
The Wunambal Gaambera people in December 2021 signed up to an Indigenous-led turtle and dugong protection plan in recognition of environmental and human impacts on marine turtle populations.