The remarkable journey, monitored online by WWF, of a green turtle from Indonesia into Australian waters is helping conservationists to track the migratory route of this species along an oceanic superhighway.
Her journey across the Indian Ocean from a nesting beach in East Java to Kimberley in Western Australia demonstrates the strong biological ties between Indonesia and the reefs on the west Australian coast.
“Ana’s journey has revealed an ‘oceanic superhighway’ that helps us better understand how marine turtles navigate around the world’s oceans as well as highlighting the strong ecological and evolutionary connections between Indonesia and Australia’s Kimberley-Pilbara coast,” said Gilly Llewellyn, WWF Ocean’s Program Leader.
“This new finding throws the spotlight on the true natural values of the magnificent Kimberley marine ecosystem and its link to the Coral Triangle to the north – the world’s epicentre of marine biodiversity and the cross-roads of migration routes and breeding grounds for whales, turtles, dolphins and other precious marine species.”
The Coral Triangle spans Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste, and contains critical habitat for six of the world’s seven species of marine turtles, including green, hawksbill, olive ridley, leatherback, loggerhead and flatback turtles.
“Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of marine turtles are caught annually in the hooks, lines and nets of fishing operations, while on land their nesting beaches are increasingly under threat from industrial development, human disturbance and climate change.
"Ana’s journey has shown us areas where we need to focus our efforts. We need to tap into the secret lives of species such as turtles, so we can design networks of marine protected areas that conserve the full range of plant and animal life, and ensure their longevity for years to come.”