- Monday 10 March 2014
The pitter patter of tiny flippers are on the march across Sunshine Coast beaches and residents are asked to give the newborn turtles some room so they have the best chance of survival.
Sunshine Coast Council conservation officer Kate Winter said endangered loggerhead and green sea turtle hatchlings were now emerging from their nests and we could all play a role to ensure their safety.
“Green sea turtles started hatching at Dicky Beach last week and our dedicated Turtle Care volunteers were on hand to monitor this amazing event and to ensure a clear path for the hatchlings to reach the ocean,” Kate said.
“Each hatchling, the size of your palm, is beginning one of the most dangerous journeys of its life. Making it safely to the ocean is just the start of numerous hurdles to overcome.
“In the days following, hatchlings will be at the mercy of fish, seabirds and juvenile sharks.
“They will follow the eastern Australian current, returning to feeding grounds on the Australian coastal strip 15 years later.
“When they reach 30 years of age, these green sea turtles will breed for the first time. While large fish and sharks are their main natural predators, ingesting hard plastics or fishing industry interactions also put their lives at risk.”
Kate said Turtle Care volunteers monitored the nests for emerging hatchlings from the Coast’s southern beaches to the Mooloolah River while Coolum Coast Care volunteers monitored nesting from Mooloolah River to Sunshine Beach.
“We are all very excited when the hatchlings emerge, usually between January and April but we have to ensure we don’t risk their safety,” she said.
“If you see hatchlings, switch off torches and don’t use cameras with flashes as they easily disorientate the hatchlings and hinder their race to the ocean.
“Leave a clear path for the hatchlings to make their way to the beach, ensure any dogs are secured on leashes and call us on 5475 7272.”
Beachgoers are also urged to dispose of all rubbish during turtle season and boaties are encouraged to watch their speed in turtle habitat.
Fast facts about the coast's nesting population of loggerheads.
- Females nest for the first time at about 28 to 33 years of age.
- An adult female nests about every three years.
- She will usually lay four times per season, 10 to 14 days apart.
- Each nest contains on average 127 eggs but can be many more.
- Loggerhead nests in Australia have 87% hatching success.