Coastal Tourism with Karajarri Rangers

As part of the West Kimberley Nature Project, Environs Kimberley, in collaboration with WWF and KLC, worked with the Karajarri Rangers and the Karajarri Traditional Lands Association to produce eco-cultural interpretive signage for six high-use coastal sites within Karajarri Country from the northern end of Eighty Mile Beach- Jinmarnkur (Cape Missiessy)  to Mirntanyartaji (Gourdon Bay).

YOU ARE IN KARAJARRI JURRAR – Coastal Country

The signs are a result of consultative workshops with these groups to first identify the sites where signage was needed and then to identify and describe important cultural and ecological information. Traditional Ecological and site knowledge was recorded and transcribed with the assistance of the Kimberley Interpretive Service and is an important feature of each of the seven signs.

It was also important to identify the main eco-cultural threats to each site including; over-fishing, collecting shells, rubbish, fires, disturbing cultural sites, driving over turtle nests etc and guide users (tourists and locals) to minimise their impact on the sites and understand and respect the Traditional country they are visiting.

Nganyjurrukura ngurra tukujana – Everybody looking after country properly

“Eighty Mile Beach is Ramsar-listed and one of the worlds richest intertidal wetlands supporting nearly 100 species of resident and migratory birds. Up to 300,000 birds migrate annually from their breeding grounds, as far away as Siberia and Alaska to rest, and to feed on invertebrates found in the intertidal mudflats. Species include Great Knots, Bar-tailed Godwits, Red-necked Stints and Greater Sand Plovers.

Many hundreds of the Flatback Turtle, listed as Vulnerable, nest along Eighty Mile Beach. Unlike other marine turtle species, Flatback hatchlings remain within 10-100km from where they were born and can be found feeding in shallow turbid waters on jellyfish and soft-bodied invertebrates such as sea cucumbers.

Other Significant marine species include Dugong, Humpback Whales and Dolphins. Extraordinarily, four Sawfish species occur here. Two species (Green Sawfish and Dwarf Sawfish) are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List.”

It’s important to note that Eighty Mile Beach doesn’t face as many of the immediate threats that wetlands do elsewhere on the global  bird migratory pathways (e.g. land reclamation; large-scale hunting; rapid urbanisation and intensive shellfish harvest), and so play a crucial role in the viability of many migratory bird species.

The signs that EK have helped to develop with the KTLA, Karrajarri Rangers and other groups were erected by the rangers in consultation with the community in 2012/13.

Many thanks to supporting organisations including:  Kimberley Land Council, World Wildlife Fund Australia, Department of Environment and Conservation, Kimberley Interpreting Service, Notre Dame University, Kimberley Land Council, Rangelands NRM WA, Caring for our Country and others who contributed their photos and knowledge for each area.

You can view the signs developed by clicking on the pictures below: