PO Box 34 U
Charles Darwin University
NT 0815 Australia

Email: [email protected]
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Supported Projects

Bare Sand Island Sea Turtle Research Project

AusTurtle is a major supporter of sea turtle research at Bare Sand Island, Northern Territory.

A large population of flatback sea turtles nest at Bare Sand Island during the winter months. During this time, researchers and volunteers gather data on the nesting turtles to estimate population size, monitor abundance over time and to determine any threats to survival. This research has been running since 1996 and has identified an important nesting population of flatback sea turtles. Funding for the research has always been very restricted creating limitations to data collection and the length of the field season. With increasing support from AusTurtle over the next 5 years, it is hoped that research will be able to be expanded to include electronic tagging of nesting turtles, satellite tracking of nesting turtles and undertaking extensive temperature studies on the nests in situ. With this additional support it will create an ideal work environment for student projects, further enhancing our knowledge of the species and the research undertaken.

The waters around Bare Sand Island support significant numbers of foraging green and hawksbill turtles. Both species are vulnerable to extinction under Australian classification (EPBC Act 1999). Green turtles are internationally classified as endangered and hawksbill turtles are critically endangered internationally (IUCN Red List). Annually researchers monitor green and hawksbill turtle populations by capture of turtles while they are feeding on the reef. This research will provide population estimates, relative species abundance and identify threats.


Education and Awareness

Public awareness and education regarding sea turtles has been conducted since 1996 during the Bare Sand Island field research. This has been mainly in the form of informal discussions with visitors to the island and distribution of educative material. Many local fishermen camp on Bare Sand Island on weekends, with up to 20 groups of people visiting the island on long weekends.

With some support from AusTurtle, a masters student is currently undertaking a project at Bare Sand Island on tourism and the nesting turtles.


A more formal education program has recently been conducted for passengers from a cruise ship running between Broome and Darwin. A scientist from AusTurtle gives a lecture on sea turtle natural history, conservation and threats and then passengers go ashore at Bare Sand Island to view the research and possibly view turtle nesting.



© 2006.   Last updated February 2012

AusTurtle Inc.
PO Box 34u, Charles Darwin University, NT 0815 Australia
Email: [email protected]