Sunshine Coast beaches continue to play a vital role in the survival of endangered sea turtles.
More than 50 turtle nests were recorded on local beaches during the recent breeding season that spans from mid-November to late-March. Sunshine Coast Council Senior Conservation Officer Julie O’Connor said a high percentage of turtle hatchlings had successfully emerged from the nests and made it to the sea.
“TurtleCare volunteers maintain records of the hatchlings that emergence from each nest and the hatchling success rate is generally around 85% and it has again been high this year,” she said.
“The fact we had fewer severe storms during summer helped keep that success rate high and we also observed no fox predation on nests. So the outstanding work of TurtleCare and Coolum District Coast Care in laying protective mesh over nests to keep foxes away has definitely helped.
“The Sunshine Coast’s nesting Loggerhead turtles normally nest every third year and lay an average of 127 eggs every 10 to 14 days at least four times during a season. One nest remains on the northern end of Bribie Island and council officers are inspecting this site weekly.”
Sunshine Coast Beaches are home to a small but significant nesting population of Loggerhead Turtles. While it‘s unclear exactly where the turtles and their hatchlings go when they leave our shores, they generally thought they may head north towards the Great Barrier Reef or even as far afield as Vanuatu.
In 2010 council attached a satellite tracker to a nesting Loggerhead Turtle on Shelly Beach and observed its movements for 200 days. The turtle, nicknamed “Matlida” was tracked as far north as the Whitsundays.
The Loggerhead turtle is classified as ‘endangered’ under State and Federal legislation and is also listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).