Wpg Free Press: Bailey Rankine is helping sea turtles on Australia’s coast
Biological Sciences graduate student Bailey Rankine is working with the Gnaraloo program in Australia to identify, monitor and protect coastal nesting sites of endangered sea turtles, the Winnipeg Free Press’s, Sou’wester reports.
As they report:
Rankine is working with the Gnaraloo program in Australia to identify, monitor and protect coastal nesting sites of endangered sea turtles.
The most common species of sea turtles found on the beaches of Gnaraloo are loggerhead, green — both of which are endangered — and hawksbill, which is critically endangered. According to Gnaraloo’s website, the Gnaraloo Bay rookery is one of the most significant breeding areas for loggerheads in Western Australia.
There are a number of threats facing sea turtle populations on the coast of Western Australia, Rankine said, including coastline development along turtle nesting beaches, increased boat traffic in areas frequented by the animals, commercial fisheries and feral animals such as cats, dogs and the European red fox.
“Those animals, they will predate beyond the capacity of the species because they are in an area where they have no natural predators and they can completely destroy a native species population,” Rankine said.
The data collection and data entry, which is also a significant part of Rankine’s day, is used to demonstrate that turtles are nesting on Gnaraloo’s beaches and in turn is used to ensure the seclusion of the area.
Sea turtle nesting season will be coming to a close at the end of February and before Rankine returns home to finish up her thesis on aquatic toxicology, she will be going on a tour of Western Auswetralia with the Gnaraloo team to present their research at local schools — one of the highlights of the job, she said.