Australian Reptiles, Australian Wildlife, Wildlife
Comments 10

Green Sea Turtle – Buyungurra

Green Sea Turtle Chelonia mydas Monkey Mia Shark Bay Western Australia

Western Australia’s vast and remote Shark Bay is a unique region covering more than 2.2 million hectares of land and sea. It is home to a great diversity of plants and animals, some of them found nowhere else on earth. Unfortunately many of the species that live in this immense wilderness are vulnerable or even critically endangered. One of them is the Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas), a species that depends on the bay’s plentiful seagrass meadows – just as the more than 10,000 Dugongs (Dugong dugon) that graze in this World Heritage Area.

Chelonia mydas Green Sea Turtle Monkey Mia Shark Bay Western Australia

Considering the high number of sightings of this massive turtle out in the water, it is hard to believe they are under serious threat. But although Green Sea Turtles are legally protected in Australia and hunting is restricted to traditional use by aboriginal people, they still face numerous challenges. Apart from crabs, goannas, birds and sharks that feed on hatchlings, the major threats are created by human activities. Each year thousands of turtles end up on baited longline hooks as bycatch, drown in fishing gear or choke on jellyfish-resembling plastic waste. Adding boating accidents, the loss of habitat by coastal development and pollution, the list of perils becomes rather lengthy. Overlaying it all is the effect of climate change, although leading scientist argue that a species that has been around for 110 million years might have the natural ability to adapt to a changing environment – changing nesting sites and breeding patterns prove this is already occurring. Together with the effort of governments, dedicated researchers, park rangers and a better public awareness this hopefully is enough to ensure these magnificent animals will be around for generations to come.



  1. Girl Gone Expat says

    Love the close up picture of the Green Sea Turtle, it is adorable! Hopefully it will stay around for a long time:)

    • Thank you and welcome to out little world of iAMsafari. We hope the same as those old fellas are just too iconic – I’ll never forget Crush in Finding Nemo 🙂

  2. So nice to see that, this particular turtle species is well protected by the strict measures of the authorities 🙂

    In India also, lots of NGO’s are working hard to protect turtles and we have seen a great improvement in their numbers recently.

    Thank you so much for sharing the images and information 🙂

    • Happy to hear those animals are protected globally – unfortunately Australia is very slow in protecting its less cuddly nocturnal wildlife from extinction….

  3. I think you were fortunate to get such a good view of the turtle, when we were there we only saw dark shapes, some were Manta Rays, some turtles and a Dugong, I think.

    • I’m more than happy with them although it takes some patience to spot them properly – sea turtles breath for about 5 seconds before disappearing underwater. But at Monkey Mia there are some residential greenies swimming between the two jetties. You can see them swimming to the surface and that’s when you need a camera ready 🙂

      • I guess you were staying at Monkey Mia, we stayed in Exmouth, I think it was called. I know we were confused because people talked about Shark Bay, said we had to get a permit for something at the Tourist Office, Shark Bay but that actually wasn’t the name of the town. we were only at Monkey Mia for a fairly short time.

      • You probably needed a permit for Cape Range National Park – that’s Exmouth/Ningaloo Reef indeed. Although there are turtles I’ve never seen them there. With around 70% of the world’s Loggerhead population Shark Bay remains a sea turtle hotspot – as with the whale sharks at Ningaloo.

  4. That is an awesome shot of the turtle! It’s so nice to hear so many places protect them now. I would love to see a dugong – they are so cute!

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