Torres Strait Islander Aaron Bon is acutely aware of the impact natural disasters could have on his isolated northern Australian community.

It is why he, alongside nine other islanders from remote communities such as Kubin, Masig, Poruma, St Pauls, Ugar and Warrabe, have undertaken training to better protect their homes and traditions from the likes of oil spills, cyclones, floods and wildfires.

“Caring for land and sea also means looking after the animals who call our islands home, when disaster strikes,” Mr Bon said.

Rangers travelled from the many Torres Strait islands to complete nationally-accredited training delivered by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science in Gladstone.

Including this latest ranger group, more than 40 TSRA rangers have completed the training since 2017.

TSRA Rangers Aaron Bon, Young Billy, Erimiah Manas and Fred David

“Fires and floods have had devastating impacts on native animal populations across Australia,” Torres Strait Regional Authorite acting chairperson Horace Baira said.

“Rangers are on the frontline when it comes to safeguarding the Torres Strait’s diverse land and sea ecosystems, including the northernmost part of the Great Barrier Reef, for future generations.

“This training helps fill a gap so that rangers on-the-ground in our communities can respond quickly to help wildlife in a disaster situation,.

“We are now better placed to respond to risks and disasters to protect our region’s diverse environment and wildlife, including turtle, dugong and native birds such as the Torres Strait Pidgeon, Eastern Reef Egret, Eastern Curlew, pelican and whimbrel.”

The National Indigenous Australians Agency provided funding to help build the technical skills and capabilities of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal rangers across Australia.

TSRA Land and Sea Management Unit senior project officer Ronald Fujii said the training recognised the importance of traditional knowledge in disaster management.

Rangers Young Billy (Warraber) and Loice Naawi (Masig)

“Our rangers will combine traditional knowledge and modern disaster management practices as part of disaster management in the Torres Strait and may even be deployed to assist in times of need around Australia,” Mr Fujii said.

The Torres Strait Region is rich in wildlife resources, flora and fauna, which spreads across 48,000sqkm including valuable ecosystems, reefs and 14 inhabited communities between the tip of Cape York and Papua New Guinea.

“Wildlife in the Torres Strait plays a big part of life for our people and birds are commonly used as indicators for changes in weather, location of food supply around the region and can even detect disasters,” Mr Fuji said.

“TSRA Rangers are trained and ready to work with lead agencies to manage disasters and threats to wildlife.”

The news comes ahead of world ranger day on July 31, which acknowledges the work rangers do to protect natural treasures and cultural heritage.