Turtle handling a top priority for Indigenous rangers

Published: 09/06/2015

Injured turtles in far north Queensland will now have a smoother ride to rehabilitation after Yuku Baja Muliku rangers recently shared their turtle handling skills with local fisherman and marine park rangers in Cooktown.

The training focused on how to best pick up sick and injured turtles out on the water and transport them to the Archer Point Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority acting director of Indigenous Partnerships Paul Cochran said this training was important for giving injured turtles the best chance of survival.

“Transporting injured turtles to the turtle hospital can be risky business,” he said.

“Injured turtles need to be handled carefully so they have the best chance of recovery once they get to the turtle hospital.

“The training by the Yuku Baja Muliku rangers is part of their Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement, which formally describes how the group manage traditional activities, such as hunting, on their sea country.

“The Yuku Baja Muliku rangers have done an outstanding job using their Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement to help endangered and vulnerable turtles.

“They’ve built the Archer Point Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre from scratch — it’s an excellent facility to care for sick and injured turtles.

“The community also self-imposed a ban on traditional turtle hunting while they research turtle populations in their sea country.”

The rehabilitation centre was built following cyclone Yasi, which destroyed seagrass meadows off Archer Point and left sea turtle populations stressed.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the Traditional Owners of the Great Barrier Reef Region and evidence of their sea country connections goes back over 60,000 years.

There are approximately 70 Traditional Owner clan groups whose sea country includes the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Name: GBRMPA media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846