OUR RANGER PROGRAM...
The Yuku Baja Muliku Ranger Program began in 2008 with two part time rangers living under a tarp at Archer Point, cooking on an open fire, with little equipment and resources, except a second hand Hilux.
The Yuku Baja Muliku Rangers are constantly busy building capabilities; inspiring others to return to country; building aspirations; and developing programs to ensure a strong program for future generations.
The ranger program represents our homelands movement and our dream to return to our country. The ranger program provides real jobs, skill development, confidence building and instills a sense of pride. By focusing on land and sea management we can start to diversify our income away from government transfers, and towards: contracting services with National Parks, Council and other neighbouring land-holding bodies; the development of ecosystem services; and developing tourism opportunities and infrastructure, such as campsites.
The aim of the Yuku Baja Muliku people is to ensure that Traditional Owners have the means to protect themselves, future generations and their culture through active, positive and physical connections to country and continuing access to traditional foods.
The aspirations of the rangers are to:
- Care for land and sea country through marine protection and conservation strategies;
- Conduct further on ground research and monitoring;
- Undertake training in sea management, with a focus on turtle rescue and sea grass conservation;
- Gain accreditation to carry out compliance checks on hunters on Sea Country;
- Conserve and preserve all of the cultural values handed down through generations;
- Protect our rights as Traditional Owners to maintain a strong healthy link to the traditional use of marine resources;
- Educate people about turtle habitats and raise awareness through community education; and
- Continue rescuing, rehabilitating and monitoring turtles.
The Yuku Baja Muliku people want to protect all the important sites and places of significance that are part of the culturally rich region, these sites include:
- Story places (single and inter-connected);
- Secret or sacred sites;
- Fish traps;
- Rock shelter sites;
- Rocky Island;
- Fish spawning and breeding habitats;
- Ceremonial sites; and
- Camp sites.
The Yuku Baja Muliku people feel that no one else could ever possess the passion to protect the area as much as the Traditional Custodians of the land and sea, therefore, we continue to strive for respect from others. Thus, any activities carried out in the area should firstly be discussed with the Yuku Baja Muliku people or reported to us if there are any issues regarding the area.
The Traditional Owners wish to ensure that all areas of our homeland (including the coastal strips) are managed and cared for in accordance with our traditional practices, in order to create a sustainable future for ourselves, our families and our communities.
The rangers aim is to ensure that the natural environment is sufficiently managed and protected by learning from their elders and each other.
Furthermore, the rangers are sharing their concerns and their cultural and environmental aspirations within the wider community.
Our Yuku Baja Muliku Rangers are working on country to develop sustainable land and sea management practices for the future, by performing a number of duties, including:
- Turtle rescue & rehabilitation
- Sea grass and sea turtle monitoring
- Cultural heritage
- Junior ranger program
- Land and sea patrols
- Fencing projects
- Fire management on country camps
- Weed control
Feral animal control
- Development of visitor infrastructure
Income diversification through enterprise
Flora and fauna surveys; and
- Day to day management activities.
The Yuku Baja Muliku Rangers have increased their skills by completing a number of different training programs, including:
- Certificate 3 and
- Certificate 4 in Conservation and Land Management;
- Fire Management Level 1 & 2
- Shipboard Safety Training
- Chemical Handling
- Marine Compliance Eyes and Ears training
- Marine Statutory Compliance
- Boat licences
- Leadership courses with Cape York Institute
- Fauna identification
- Sea grass monitoring refresh
- ATV, Side by Side training
- Bird identification
- Manual map reading and compass/GPS work; and I-Tracker Training.
- Database management
- Shark & Ray Identification
- Mussel Monitoring
The Yuku Baja Muliku Ranger team have developed a junior ranger program to ensure that young people on country can learn from their elders and it also provides an opportunity for non-indigenous people to learn more about the country.
Our Junior Ranger program has a current registration list of 65 children from Prep to year nine. Junior Rangers is run every Thursday during the school term from 3:00pm to 5:00pm.
Activities range from building gunyas, weed collection and identification, bird watching, turtle education activities and crocodile awareness, plus many more. The children involved in the Junior Ranger Program are Indigenous and non indigenous students from the local Cooktown region.
The Yuku Baja Muliku Rangers and Junior Rangers hold a camp annually on the school holidays. The Junior Rangers participate in animal trapping, exploration of bush, land and sea. bird watching, bush walking and many other activities, finishing the day around the fire roasting marshmallows, telling stories and learning new games.
The Yuku Baja Muliku rangers have assisted with a number of school excursions and school camps, to teach students about sick and injured marine life and introduce students to turtles in care, and activities include knot tying techniques, orienteering, sustainability discussions, traditional spear making, and other bush craft.
YBM Rangers meet with the Junior Rangers every Thursday afternoon at the Cooktown Youth Block, Junior ranger Base, Event Centre during the school term from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. If you are interested in being involved, please contact our office for further information.