New born babies are drawing their first breath and taking their first steps on a number of Sunshine Coast beaches. Endangered Loggerhead Turtle hatchlings have once again started emerging from their nests and we can all play a role to ensure they have the best possible chance of survival.
Sunshine Coast Council Senior Conservation Officer Julie O’Connor said 29 nests had so far been recorded between Point Cartwright and Shelly Beach.
“That is close to the largest number of nests we have recorded locally at this point in a nesting season that generally spans from November to late February,” she said.
“In 2009 we had a record 70 nests in total for the entire season and given that Loggerhead turtles normally nest every three to four years we may be seeing that group of turtles returning to the Sunshine Coast.
“Given that Australia’s eastern population of nesting Loggerheads comprises only around 500 nesting females, the Sunshine Coast population continues to be a small but important sub-population.”
Ms O’Connor said with potentially higher numbers of endangered turtles on local beaches this summer, it was important for locals to help their cause.
“During turtle season people on the beach at night may see nesting turtles coming out of the water or hatchlings emerging from their nests,” she said.
“If this occurs it is important to switch off any torches, ensure any dogs are secured on leashes and to call the local TurtleCare number – 0437 559067.
“The reason why it is important for people to call TurtleCare as soon as possible is that it allows our volunteers to cover the nest with fox exclusion mesh.
“If you are witnessing a nesting female turtle it is also important to stop where you are as turtles detect movement very easily and they are likely to return to the water if they see a lot of movement around them.”
Beachgoers are also urged to dispose of all rubbish carefully during turtle season and boaties are encouraged to watch their speed to avoid hitting turtles in the water. For more information and tips on caring for turtles visit the local turtlecare website: www.turltecare.com.au