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Turtle nesting season comes to a close


Wildlife experts have praised the efforts of the Sunshine Coast community and dedicated turtle volunteers as turtle nesting comes to a close for the season.

Almost 90 turtle nests were found on Sunshine Coast beaches - 61 nests between north Bribie Island and Buddina and 28 nests further north from Mooloolaba to Sunshine Beach.

While high summer temperatures resulted in unusually early nest emergences this season, the Sunshine Coast avoided significant hatchling deaths which occurred in other parts of the state.

With the help of council staff, Coolum and North Shore District CoastCare and Turtlecare volunteers and local residents, this nesting season has delivered thousands of hatchlings into the Pacific Ocean.

Loggerhead hatchlings from the Sunshine Coast make their way over to South America over the next 10 years, returning to the South Pacific at around 15 to 20 years of age.

Sunshine Coast’s Turtlecare Volunteer program has been touted by turtle experts as one of the most successful community turtle conservation programs in Australia, and plays a major role in protecting the coast’s tiny marine turtles.

Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said turtles were reaping the benefits of sustained intervention efforts of council staff and volunteers over the last decade.

“Each year, council staff work with dedicated turtle volunteers to monitor the turtle nests and carry out a range of activities such as covering nests with protective meshing and relocating turtle eggs during severe weather events and king tides.

“Data collected over many years has shown that the measures taken to protect turtle nests from threats such as fox predation, beach erosion, light pollution and tidal inundation have dramatically improved the survival rate here on the Sunshine Coast.”

Cr McKay said local residents and visitors played their part in boosting turtle survival rates through their involvement in beach clean-up events and by keeping litter and plastics off beaches and out of local waterways.

“We continue to be encouraged by the community’s support in collecting rubbish and debris during clean-up events,” Cr McKay said.

“We encourage all visitors to our beaches to dispose of their rubbish thoughtfully and help us to protect our local turtles and marine life.”

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