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Green Turtle Lc ..by Parks and Wildlife Commission NT Gov

Green Turtle Lc ..by Parks and Wildlife Commission NT Gov

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Published by Cudareef
THREATENED SPECIES OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY

GREEN TURTLE Chelonia mydas
Conservation status
Australia: Vulnerable. Northern Territory: Least Concern. Australia, Wellesley Island group in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria and the Top End coast. Many nesting sites occur in the Northern Territory, mostly from the western end of Melville Island to near the border with Queensland (Chatto 1998). Nationally significant breeding sites in the NT include Cobourg Peninsula, the mainland from Gove to the n
THREATENED SPECIES OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY

GREEN TURTLE Chelonia mydas
Conservation status
Australia: Vulnerable. Northern Territory: Least Concern. Australia, Wellesley Island group in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria and the Top End coast. Many nesting sites occur in the Northern Territory, mostly from the western end of Melville Island to near the border with Queensland (Chatto 1998). Nationally significant breeding sites in the NT include Cobourg Peninsula, the mainland from Gove to the n

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Published by: Cudareef on Oct 09, 2010
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THREATENED SPECIES OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY
GREEN TURTLE
Chelonia mydas 
 
Conservation status
Australia: Vulnerable.Northern Territory: Least Concern.
 
Description
The green turtle is a marine turtle witha subcircular to heart-shapedcarapace up to 1m in length. Thecarapace is olive-green, usuallyvariegated with black, brown or red-brown. The carapace has four pairs ofcostal shields (those between thecentre and outer margin of the shell).Eggs are intermediate in size (meandiameter = 4.6 cm) compared withother marine turtles that breed in theNT. When ashore, green turtles movepairs of legs simultaneously, leavingsymmetrical tracks (unlike thealternate gait of loggerhead andhawksbill turtles).
Green turtle.
(Copyright: State of Queensland, reproduced withpermission of the Environmental Protection Agency)
Distribution
 
Green turtles occur in tropical andsubtropical waters throughout theworld. In Australia, the main breedingdistribution includes the Great BarrierReef, the northwest shelf of WesternAustralia, Wellesley Island group in thesouthern Gulf of Carpentaria and theTop End coast.Many nesting sites occur in theNorthern Territory, mostly from thewestern end of Melville Island to nearthe border with Queensland (Chatto1998). Nationally significant breedingsites in the NT include CobourgPeninsula, the mainland from Gove tothe northern edge of Blue Mud Bay,the southeast of Groote Eylandt, andthe northern beaches of islands in theSir Edward Pellew group (Chatto1998).
Conservation reserves where reported 
:Casuarina Coastal Reserve, GarigGunak Barlu National Park, KakaduNational Park, Nanydjaka IndigenousProtected Area.
Known locations of green turtle
ο
= pre 1970
= post 1970
 
 
 
Ecology
Green turtles are primarilyherbivorous, mostly eating seagrassand algae. Juveniles are carnivorous.Green turtles undertake long-distancedispersal around feeding areas and toand from nesting beaches. Individualstagged in the Kimberley have beenrecaptured in the Top End, andindividuals tagged at breeding sites inthe northern Great Barrier Reef havebeen recaptured in the southern Gulfof Carpentaria. Individuals tagged innorth-eastern Arnhem Land makecomplex and long movements aroundthe western shores of the Gulf ofCarpentaria (Kennett
et al 
. 2004)In the NT, green turtles nest mainly onwide beaches backed by large dunesystems, and may occur at highdensities in such sites (Chatto 1998).
Conservation assessment
A recent assessment of trends for thisspecies in the southern Great BarrierReef has shown that the overallpopulation increased by 11% perannum over 8 years (1985-1992)
 
andthe female nesting populationincreased by 3% per annum between1974 and 1998 (Chaloupka andLimpus 2001).There are few population trend datafor the NT. There is some anecdotalevidence of at least localised declineof marine turtles in general (Kennett
et al 
. 2004). Given the indications of apopulation at least in the thousands inboth the breeding and feedingsegments with no evidence ofsubstantial decline the species isconsidered as
Least Concern
for theNorthern Territory.
Threatening processes
As with other marine turtles, there area broad range of factors that threatenthis species. These may include by-catch in commercial fisheries (Poinerand Harris 1996); Indigenous harvest;predation of eggs and young by dogs,pigs and goannas; marine pollution,including entanglement in ghost nets;and disturbance at main breedingsites.
Conservation objectives andmanagement
A national recovery plan for thisspecies, and other marine turtles, wasimplemented in 2003 (EnvironmentAustralia 2003).This plan includes actions that: (i) aimto reduce mortality of turtles(principally through ameliorativeactions within commercial fisheries,and maintenance of sustainableharvest by Indigenous communities),(ii) develop and integrate monitoringprograms; (iii) manage factors thataffect reproductive success (in thiscase, outside NT); (iv) identify andprotect critical habitat (including seagrass beds); (v) enhancecommunication of information; and (vi)enhance international actions andcooperation.
Compiled by
Robert TaylorRay ChattoJohn Woinarski[May 2006]
References
Chaloupka, M., and Limpus, C. (2001).Trends in the abundance of seaturtles resident in southern GreatBarrier Reef waters.
Biological Conservation 
102
,
 
235-249.Chatto, R. (1998). A preliminary overviewof the locations of marine turtlenesting in the Northern Territory. In
Marine turtle conservation and management in northern Australia 
.(eds R. Kennett, A. Webb, G. Duff, M.Guinea and G. Hill.) pp. 33-40.(Northern Territory University,Darwin.)Environment Australia (2003)
Recovery Plan for marine Turtles in Australia 
.(Environment Australia, Canberra.)Kennett, R., Robinson, C.J., Kiessling, I.,Yunupingu, D., Munungurritj, N., andYunupingu, D. (2004). Indigenousinitiatives for co-management of

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