Marine turtle and dugong monitoring case study

18 September 2015

Hub research is supporting effective, long-term monitoring of dugongs and marine turtles across northern Australia.

Dugongs and marine turtles hold great cultural and conservation significance in the north – however there is a lack of long-term monitoring data, making it difficult to derive population estimates with any certainty.

The marine turtle and dugong monitoring case study helped to address these data-gaps, by drawing on both Indigenous knowledge and scientific research to develop new ways to keep track of these species.

Since 2012, the Uunguu Rangers from Wunambal Gaambera country in Western Australia have been working with researchers to develop and implement a new boat-based transect survey method to monitor marine turtles and dugongs. The project team also developed a new method to monitor local sub-tidal seagrass habitats which are an important food source.

The rangers use customised I-Tracker applications, developed using world renowned CyberTracker Software, to record, analyse and map monitoring data.

The methods and tools developed through this case study have also been adopted by other Indigenous ranger groups, including the Gumurr Marthakal Rangers in the Northern Territory and Dambinmangari in Western Australia.

A new fact sheet, detailing information about the method, can be seen here. You can also view a video about the project here.

This case study was primarily a partnership between Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation (WGAC), the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Limited (NAILSMA) and CSIRO.

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