JCU and Glencore join forces for critical turtle research
James Cook University (JCU) and Glencore have joined forces for a key research project that aims to protect the future of loggerhead sea turtles.
Glencore is providing $150,000 over three years to JCU to research the little-known first years of a loggerhead turtle’s life to find out more about the threats facing the species.
The reddish-brown turtle is listed as endangered, which means it may become extinct if the threats to their survival continue.
The information gained from the research will be used to try to reverse declining numbers and maximise the turtle’s chances of long-term survival in the wild.
JCU Turtle Health Research Centre Director, Professor Ellen Ariel, said the loggerhead turtles will be fitted with satellite tracking devices upon their release, allowing researchers to follow their movements through the ocean during the stage of life commonly referred to as the “lost years.”
“By learning more about them during this vulnerable life stage, we can help inform conservation management strategies that will benefit the entire population of Pacific loggerhead turtles,” she said.
Glencore’s Refinery and Port Operations Manager at Townsville, Paul Taylor, said it is important companies like Glencore get behind projects that help conserve endangered species and improve biodiversity.
“We are proud to support this important project with significant funding over the next three years to expand our knowledge about this fascinating and important marine animal.”
The turtles currently housed at the Turtle Health Research Centre for the project were collected from Mon Repos, the largest loggerhead nesting beach in Queensland.
Loggerhead turtles have a worldwide distribution with two distinct populations in Australia.
Hatchlings from Queensland disperse as far as South America and spend about 16 years at sea before returning to Australian waters.
A plaque was unveiled at JCU’s Turtle Health Research Centre by Glencore and JCU on Monday morning to mark the funding partnership.
Loggerhead turtle facts
The loggerhead turtle is named for its large head which resembles a floating log when seen from afar.
Their large head supports powerful jaws that enable them to feed on hard-shelled prey such as crabs or conch.
Adult loggerhead turtles weigh between 90-160 kgs on average with a shell (carapace) length of about 90-100 cm.
While it’s not known exactly how long loggerheads can live, it’s estimated their life span is between 70-80 years.
Glencore is one of the world’s largest global diversified natural resource companies and a major producer and marketer of more than 60 responsibly-sourced commodities that advance everyday life.
In Australia, Glencore employs 17,350 people and produces coal, copper, cobalt, nickel, zinc, lead and silver from 25 mining operations. We also operate metals processing assets in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, including metals smelters, concentrators and refineries. For more information, visit www.glencore.com.au
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