Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) researchers at Mon Repos have been amazed by the record breaking efforts of one very special venerable loggerhead turtle that has returned to Mon Repos again this season.
EHP Aquatic Threatened Species chief scientist Doctor Col Limpus said the loggerhead, thought to be about 65 years old, was given tag number X28455 in 1979 and had been recorded for 17 breeding seasons over those 33 years.
"She has been recorded ashore for nesting 106 times and all bar three of those nesting attempts were made at Mon Repos beach," he said.
"She has laid three clutches this season and we expect her to lay at least one more clutch in about two weeks.
"This amazing older turtle survived the major population decline for our loggerheads when so many were drowning in prawn trawls, before use of turtle exclusion devices was made compulsory on trawlers."
Dr Limpus said the turtle was teaching researchers about how older turtles function and this year she had laid large clutches of 155 and 165 eggs, when the usual number is about 125.
"In her last nesting season back in 2010, she laid five clutches," he said.
"So her age doesn't seem to be slowing down her egg production and she may have many more breeding years. We know X28455 must be living in a good-quality feeding area, as she often breeds at one-year intervals."
Dr Limpus said researchers had now attached a GPS satellite tag to the turtle so they could track her back to her home area.
"The tag was funded by donations from Mon Repos visitors," he said.
"The Queensland Government research has been running more than four decades at Mon Repos and we are still learning about loggerheads."