Endangered Loggerhead Turtles are about to emerge on local beaches to build nests and lay their eggs. We can all play a role to ensure their hatchlings have the best possible chance of survival.
Sunshine Coast Council Environment Portfolio Councillor Tony Wellington said the annual turtle nesting season generally took place during November and December, with hatchlings emerging around early January.
The coastal strip between Point Cartwright and Shelly Beach is a favourite site but turtles may also appear on other stretches of the Coast.
“The 2009 nesting season saw a record 70 nests on local beaches. Given that Loggerhead turtles normally nest every three to four years, we may be seeing that same group of turtles returning to the Sunshine Coast this season,” he said.
“There is the potential for higher than normal numbers of endangered turtles on our beaches, so it is extremely important that we all do the right thing to help their survival.”
Cr Wellington said nesting turtles could often be seen emerging from their nests in the dunes or from the water at night.
“For beachgoers who observe turtles, it is important to switch off any torches, ensure any dogs are secured on leashes and kept well away, and call the local TurtleCare number – 0437 559067 – as quickly as possible,” he said.
“The reason why it’s important for people to call TurtleCare is that it allows volunteers to find the turtle nest and cover it with exclusion mesh to protect it from foxes.
“If you are witnessing a nesting female turtle it is also important to remain very still. Turtles are sensitive to movement and are likely to return to the water if they detect too much disturbance around them.
“Australia’s eastern population of Loggerheads comprises only around 500 nesting females. The Sunshine Coast population is therefore vital to the long term survival of this species.”
Beachgoers are also urged to dispose of all rubbish carefully during turtle season. For more information and tips on caring for turtles visit the localTurtleCare website: www.turtlecare.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.