Volunteers spent two weeks in the wild and rugged country of Western Australia, assisting in research to conserve the area’s unique freshwater turtles.
The Kimberley is a rugged landscape, full of independent people and rewarding a sense of adventure. Those who've been here always recall the stark contrast of deep blue sky against red—whether the red bluffs and canyons of the distant ranges or the glowing sunsets.
Freshwater turtles in the Kimberley region of Western Australia are arguably the least known of Australian turtles. Large gaps exist in the understanding of the ecology and behavior of both the short-necked and the long-necked species. The ecological data these volunteers helped to gather on this expedition guided management considerations for these species, which somehow manage to survive even with the dramatic fluctuations between wet and dry seasons in this part of Australia.
Volunteers assisted researchers working to define the population structure, population density, breeding structure, and feeding behavior of these two species. They collected turtles (by snorkeling or trapping), marked them, and processed the data at a variety of sites. They helped determine the conservation needs of the freshwater turtles of the Kimberley region and provided insights into the area's overall freshwater biodiversity.