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New publication on inter-nesting flatback turtles, another first from Pendoley Environmental

Published this month in Endangered Species Research, this article addresses a recognised gap in  knowledge of inter-nesting flatback turtle movement and behaviour, describing where they go to after nesting and when and how they interact with offshore industrial activity in Western Australia.


Fatal interactions between marine turtles and coastal and offshore developments are known to occur, and alterations to habitat can impact long-term population viability. To date, a lack of publicly available information has constrained effective impact assessment, conservation planning, and management practices in Australia and worldwide.

Paul Whittock, Senior Marine Scientist at Pendoley Environmental and PhD candidate at James Cook University, co-authored the manuscript with Dr Kellie Pendoley (Director, Pendoley Environmental) and Dr Mark Hamann (Associate Professor, James Cook University).

The authors used data derived from satellite telemetry to define core home range areas for 56 inter-nesting flatback turtles from four rookeries in the Pilbara region of north Western Australia. Movement patterns and home range areas were investigated to define the extent of overlap with existing and potential development associated with the resource sector.

The authors present novel data, addressing the aforementioned knowledge gap and providing information for decision-makers to make informed and reliable decisions regarding, for example, Environmental Impact Assessments or Marine Protected Areas. Based on their findings, the authors call on the Australian Government and Industry to expand the scope of Environmental Impact Assessments to ensure adequate protection for inter-nesting flatback turtles. Want a copy of this article? Click here to email Paul and request a copy.