The Lama Lama Community recognises the significance of Princess Charlotte Bay as an important foraging ground for Ikarranthi (green), Walu (flatback) and Atyika (hawksbill) turtles.

It is our priority to start a long-term turtle monitoring program to contribute to the global understanding of the genetic make-up and general health of these populations.

There is little baseline data available regarding local turtle populations:

  • Surveys carried out in the 1990s on the outer reefs show that Maggie, Pie and Grubb reefs in Princess Charlotte Bay are significant because of the large numbers of turtles foraging in these areas. However, follow-up research has not been undertaken.
  • In 2015 Lama Lama Rangers in partnership with Queensland Government carried out capture, mark, recapture surveys in the in-shore areas of Princess Charlotte Bay to get a snapshot of species that live in Princess Charlotte Bay, and to introduce rangers to turtle monitoring techniques.

These areas are potentially of international significance. It is important to understand their role and the foraging behaviour of the turtles using them.

Broadly speaking, the Lama Lama Rangers wish to address the following questions:

  • What is the current state of the hawksbill, flatback and green turtle populations in Princess Charlotte Bay and is this changing?
  • What is the genetic makeup of the local foraging green and hawksbill turtles (i.e. different breeding units)?
  • What is the general physical health of turtles in Princess Charlotte Bay, including a comparison between individuals inhabiting inshore habitats compared to offshore reefs?
  • What are all turtles (green, flatback and hawksbill) in Princess Charlotte Bay eating?
  • What are the impacts of decreased coral cover from recent bleaching events and increased algae cover?

Turtle nesting occurs on mainland and adjacent island sites, managed by the Lama Lama Rangers. The frequency of this nesting is unlikely to be very high, particularly on mainland sites. Further effort is needed to better understand nesting populations, due to limited baseline data available.

We wish to collaborate with researchers to help address these questions.