The Kimberley’s Wildlife
With its tropical climate and abundant warm water, the Kimberley Coast is a proverbial hotbed of various wildlife species. From humpback whales and sharks to dugongs and crocodiles, there is plenty to see aboard the Coral Expeditions I. During your Kimberley Coast voyage, you are able to see this wildlife up close and personal, with our onboard experts providing additional information on nature going past.
Also known as Australia’s wildest frontier, the Kimberley Coast is arguably one of the best wildlife holiday destinations, allowing explorers to witness nature at its finest – capturing photographs that will be remembered for years. Here are five wildlife species that call the Kimberley Coast home.
As a protected species, Humpback whales are described as ‘vulnerable’ under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. After years of habitat degradation and whaling, this protection is enabling a surging number of Humpback whales primarily along the Kimberley Coast – establishing the world’s largest population of Humpbacks.
After spending the winter feeding south in Antarctica, the Humpbacks of the Kimberley Coast set course for Australia to both breed and calve. These warm, tropical and sheltered waters provide the ideal location for young whale calves to be nurtured by their parents.
Aboard the Coral Expeditions I, you could be lucky enough to see these young whales splashing around off the coast, practising their hunting skills before they make the journey back to Antarctica.
Tawny Nurse Shark
Sharks have a bad name in the wildlife world, but in reality are one of the globe’s oldest animals and are a vital part of the ocean’s ecosystem. Thanks to the abundance of food and warm waters, the Kimberley Coast is home to many different shark species that coexist within the environment.
Of course, one of the more special sharks to spot onboard with Aurora is the Tawny Nurse Shark. Often mistaken for a fish, the shark features long barbels and a small spiracle.
Tawny Nurse Sharks are found in sheltered waters including reefs, beaches, caves and lagoons and are most active during the night. Reaching a maximum length of around three metres, Tawny Nurse Sharks can blend well into the seafloor with their grey or brown complexion.
Of course, this shark species are very docile and are popular with divers around the country. As an introduction to the world of sharks, the Tawny Nurse Shark is a great start.
Popularised by their cool demeanour in the Disney film Finding Nemo, the endangered Green Turtle could be spotted cruising the waters of the Kimberley Coast. Growing up to 320kg and 1.5m long, Green Turtles can live up 80 years in the wild, but they are in danger from a number of factors.
As the name suggests, this turtle species features a mostly green skin covered in a brown or olive shell. Green turtles love the sun and will often be found sunning themselves on the ocean surface or on the land.
In an interesting twist, Green Turtles can’t put their head into their shells like other land-based turtles. This is actually true among all sea turtle species.
Lizards and Monitors
The sandstone gorges of Northern Kimberley house protected areas where rare endemic species live, such as an astounding number of rare and endangered lizards and monitors. This includes the yellow spotted monitor.
Also known as the Argus Monitor, yellow-spotted monitor males can grow up to 90cm long. Mostly yellow in colour, these monitors also feature patches of brown or dark tan. Yellow-spotted monitors spend a lot of time on the ground and also dig large burrows where they lay their eggs.
As a result of its lifestyle, the yellow-spotted monitor’s diet consists of everything from small birds, rodents, insects or other animals that it can catch.
While there are 23 types of crocodilian, there is certainly only one species that dominates the Kimberley Coast coastal environment – the Saltwater. Notorious in this part of Australia, Saltwater crocodiles can grow to weigh 2,000kg and reach at least 7m long.
Also known as ‘salties’, these reptiles prey on anything they can get their vice-like grip jaw into, whether it be fish, small mammals or even sharks in some cases. As they can live kilometres from the shore, crocodiles are also a possible sighting on an Aurora Kimberley Coast voyage.
For more information about the voyage and what experiences you could have, get in touch with us today.