The Thuwathu-Bujimulla Indigenous Protected Area (IPA), spanning across the Wellesley Islands, is located off the coast of north Queensland in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria. Dedicated in 2013, the IPA comprises of over 1.6 million hectares of sea country and over 120,000 hectares of land.
The 22 remote, low-lying continental islands and the surrounding expansive reef systems harbour extremely rich biodiversity, and contain some of the most significant habitats for threatened sea turtles, shorebirds and seabirds in Australia. The region is also culturally rich, with over 160 documented sites of cultural heritage significance, including the largest collection of stone fish traps in the southern hemisphere.
Established in 2016 and based on Mornington Island, the Wellesley Islands Ranger unit delivers diverse on-ground land and sea country management activities across the IPA. Directed by the Thuwathu-Bujimulla IPA Management Plan, the Ranger unit works to fulfill the aspirations of the local Lardil, Yangkaal, Kaiadilt and Gangalidda Peoples, including priority programs in marine turtle and migratory shorebird research, fire and weed management, and cultural site management and restoration.