Satellites and DNA reveal new insights into western Pacific’s rapidly declining hawksbill turtles

For the first time, a new study reveals that many hawksbill turtles satellite-tagged in Papua New Guinea’s (PNG)  Conflict Islands swam over 1,000 km to reach the Great Barrier Reef to forage, a journey taking more than a month. 

But hawksbills satellite-tagged in northeast Queensland’s Milman Island stayed in Australian waters, mostly 
swimming north to forage in Torres Strait and around to western Cape York, according to a separate Queensland-focused study. Both papers on the critically endangered species were recently published in Frontiers in Marine 

The research shows the importance of safeguarding hawksbill migratory routes and foraging habitats in north-east Australia. That’s why conservationists applauded the Queensland and Australian governments’ recent commitment to phase out commercial gill nets in the Great Barrier Reef.