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Home » Headline (Archive) » 13 January 2013

Australia: Turtle nesting numbers increase on Coast 13 Jan 2013

By Anthony Brand

For thousands of years, loggerhead turtles have been returning to the Sunshine Coast to nest.

Scattered among the dunes between Point Cartwright and Shelly Beach, thousands of hatchlings have once again started emerging from their nests.

This year's count of nest numbers sits at about 40, but is expected to rise to about 70 - a fair increase on last year's total of 55 and 2011's 34.

Considering about only 500 nesting female loggerheads visit Australia's east coast annually, the Sunshine Coast population continues to be small but important.

Sunshine Coast Council's senior conservation officer, Julie O'Connor, said this year's turtle numbers were the strongest in recent years.

"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.

"We don't usually get this many, so it's great to have this larger cohort of turtles back this year."

Kawana's healthy veget-ation buffer makes it an ideal place for the turtles to nest and Ms O'Connor says council has taken steps to reduce dangers for the turtles and ensure minimal human impact.

"They (turtles) wouldn't be attracted to a place like Mooloolaba because it's so well lit with all the lights, which is a major deterrent," she said.

"The Kawana stretch is quite dark and is blocked from the light and the council has introduced retro-fitted street lights, which significantly reduces the light."

Loggerhead turtles become fertile at about 25 years of age and have an innate sense of direction that brings them back to lay their eggs at the site of their own birth.

Ms O'Connor said only one in every 100 baby turtles made it to adulthood, making it essential they were given the best possible chance of survival.

"To be honest, humans don't pose any sort of threat to the turtles," she said.

"A small fox population in the Point Cartwright area are the main problem and we place fox-exclusion mesh on the nests to keep them out."

People who come across turtle nests should leave them alone and contact TurtleCare on 0437 559 067 or visit www.turtlecare.com.au.

Source: //
Actual link: http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/turtle-nesting-numbers-increase-on-coa

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