- Wednesday 18 November 2015
Sunshine Coast volunteers were quick to welcome the first loggerhead turtle of the season, before staying on to protect her nest of eggs, on the beach at Point Cartwright last night.
Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said the five volunteers aptly named the turtle, which arrived around midnight, the ‘First Lady of the Sunshine Coast’ and gave her and her nest the royal treatment they deserved.
“Loggerhead turtles are endangered - there are only around 500 nesting female turtles in eastern Australia - and we are lucky enough to have around 70 nests each year,” Cr McKay said.
“This particular nest is located in an area known to be erosion prone during summer storm season, so over the coming month we will likely move it a few hundred metres south along the beach where the dunes will provide more protection.
“Our volunteers were able to tag and measure our ‘First Lady’ last night which will enable us to identify her over the next 30 years or so throughout her breeding life.
“And in another 30 years from now, we look forward to welcoming her young back here when they commence breeding. Research has indicated that only one in 1000 turtles survive to adulthood.”
Buddina TurtleCare Group Leader Lesley Dimmock said she was delighted the volunteers had been able to be on hand to safely protect the first turtle of the season and her eggs.
“At 6pm last night we decided to organise an impromptu ‘night walk’ to see if we could find our first turtle – we are so lucky that our volunteers found our ‘First Lady’,” Ms Dimmock said.
“I am always pleased that for every endangered loggerhead nest that we protect, we ensure the safety of hundreds of hatchlings.
“Hopefully one day the hatchlings will return to continue nesting here once they are adults.”
- From mid-November to late January you might be lucky enough to see a nesting loggerhead turtle, or the tracks they leave behind once they have visited the beach. Loggerhead turtles nest along the entire Sunshine Coast and can lay around 130 eggs.
- How you can help:
- 1. If you see a nesting turtle call TurtleCare on 0437 559 067 or Coolum and North Shore District Coast Care, volunteers can then protect the nest from predators.
- 2. Switch off any torches.
- 3. Ensure dogs are secured on leashes and kept well away.
- 4. Remain very still. Turtles are sensitive to movement and are likely to return to the water if they detect too much disturbance around them.
- 5. Dispose of all rubbish carefully during turtle season.
- Hatchlings emerge late January through to April
- We are unable to offer any formal viewing opportunities on the Sunshine Coast as the nest density is too low. We recommend visiting Mon Repos in Bundaberg and participating in the nightly turtle tours for guaranteed sightings.
For more information and tips on caring for turtles visit: http://turtlecare.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.