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Turtle Monitoring

The community-based turtle monitoring program was established in 2004 to provide a much needed role for the awareness and conservation of the local threatened flatback sea turtle species: Natator depressus.

The presence of flatback turtles in Hedland gives a unique opportunity for the community and visitors to the area to be actively involved in contributing to the monitoring of the protected species. 

Flatback sea turtles nest only on Australian beaches and have the shortest migratory range of all sea turtles. There is currently limited population data available on the species highlighting the importance of the Care for Hedland monitoring program. This program is a part of a wider turtle monitoring project encompassing nesting rookeries from Shark Bay in the south, up to the Kimberly.

The Hedland turtle monitoring program operates from October to March each year in correlation with the annual flatback migration to the coastline for the nesting and hatchling seasons (Nesting season: October – January. Hatchling season: December – March).


The turtle monitoring program has two key goals:

  1. To educate and bring awareness of the local flatback turtle species and encourage positive methods for human interaction with the species. 

  2.  To collect data concerning flatback turtle activity at the Cemetery Beach and Pretty Pool Beach nesting sites that will be used to provide an indication of the nesting and hatchling populations at Hedland; as well as to best guide management plans for the area.

The program uses a non-invasive approach to obtain monitoring data through conducting early morning beach patrols assessing turtle tracks and sand patterns. Laid and hatched nest locations are recorded using a GPS and additional turtle as well as predator activity is also documented.


Turtle Tagging

This season we have employed Bryony as a Scientific Coordinator to collect scientific data and conduct the turtle tagging program at Cemetery Beach.  Flipper tagging collects vital population data. It can provide information on population trends, habitat residency, movement patterns, individual growth rates, reproductive life history and strandings. Interstate, overseas and community volunteers have been assisting with this work and have enjoyed getting up close and personal with the turtles!

At the moment there is space for up to eight volunteers per night, to record data and restrain the turtles if needed.  

Turtle Tours

Would you like to go on a facilitated Turtle Tour with our Evening Program Coordinator? On your Turtle Tour, Skye will teach you about these amazing animals and you can watch as the female Flatback sea turtle ascends the beach to lay her eggs. This is an amazing experience that few ever get to witness. Tour take place most evenings, two hours either side of the high tide. E-mail Skye at to book your once-in-a-lifetime Turtle Tour. 

If you would any further information on the Care For Hedland Turtle Monitoring Program, please contact Tamarand, Morning Turtle Program Coordinator, via email at or find us on Facebook .

Volunteering - Care for Hedland are currently seeking motivated people to volunteer as part of our Turtle Monitoring Programs. 

Local Volunteers- Training will be held on Saturday the 29th of October at C3 Chruch from 10am to 2pm. Please RSVP to Tamarand at

Out of Town Volunteers- For all information regarding the program please download the Volunteer information Booklet. If you would like to Volunteer please fill out the application form and send it to Tamarand at 

Our wonderful sponsors at Discovery Parks have put a fantastic special together for this seasons Turtle Monitoring Volunteers. Please contact us to find out more.

For daily updates on all things TURTLES check out our Facebook page: Care for Hedland Turtle Monitoring.

Annual Care for Hedland Memberships can be purchased by contacting Mel at


Saving the Turtles of Port Hedland Documentary

Last Year, Care for Hedland and Brains Design bumped heads and produced the documentary Saving the Turtles of Port Hedland.

The documentary has been well received by the Hedland community and has been available for purchase at market stalls and the Port Hedland Visitor Centre since August 2014.

The documentary follows the journey of the local community who have rallied together, determined to protect the nationally protected turtle species in the face of ongoing threats such at development and habitat disruption.

Care Hor Hedland's turtle monitoring program is in its eleventh season and utilizes local and visiting volunteers to collect scientific data and educate the public on responsible behavior during the nesting season which runs from late October to April every year.

Copies of the full documentary are available for purchase through the online Shop. In the meantime, you can see the trailer by clicking here.


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Best Practice for Turtle Watching

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Morning Monitoring

Between late October and March. we conduct turtle track monitoring every morning at 6am at Cemetery Beach, and every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Pretty Pool Beach. We walk along the previous nig...

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