Half a handcuff—what’s the story?
  • Friday 06 February 2015
Handcuff found during a clean up for the turtle hatchlings event

A lucky escapee or just a hen night prop—who knows, but half a handcuff was the strangest item found in the ‘Clean up for the hatchlings’ litter pick this Saturday, which saw 330kg of rubbish collected from Sunshine Coast beaches.

In a mammoth effort, 350 Sunshine Coast volunteers turned up to walk the beaches and snorkel the sea beds picking up litter that could be fatal to turtle hatchlings who are about emerge from their nests.

Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said Council’s TurtleCare program is dedicated to protecting the Region’s small but very important sea-turtle population and is just one of the ways Council is protecting and enhancing the Sunshine Coast environment.

“This is the second year Council’s TurtleCare program has run the event, in collaboration with ReefCheck Australia and Underwater World SEA LIFE Mooloolaba,” Cr McKay said.

“Our trained volunteers do a fabulous job over summer, monitoring nesting activity, recording species and protecting nests—but with only a small number of volunteers (because of the small turtle population) this clean up called for more hands on deck.

“And boy did the community respond, 350 volunteers collected 330kg rubbish that could have been fatal to our endangered turtles.

“Every volunteer took away a free entry to Underwater World SEA LIFE Mooloolaba as well as some great prizes—a shark swim, shark scuba, seal swim and back of house tour. Mooloolaba Surf Club also donated five $30 vouchers!

“But it’s the two lucky volunteers who took out the grand prize that will see the true importance of their efforts as they experience a sick or injured sea turtle being released back into the wild from Underwater World SEA LIFE’s boat.”

Sunshine Coast Council TurtleCare Coordinator Kate Winter said eight nests have emerged on our beaches already with many due to hatch over the coming months.

“As with all things in nature, it is difficult to predict when a nest will emerge, so it’s unlikely many people will get to experience an emergence on our beaches. We recommend visiting Mon Repos Conservation Park in Bundaberg for guaranteed sightings ofturtle hatchlings,” Ms Winter said.

“They have the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and the experience they offer is well worth the visit.”

To find out more about Council’s TurtleCare program, visit www.turtlecare.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au

Remember these tips for hatchling emergences

Switch off Torches, Cameras or Phones as light disorientates the hatchlings and wastes their energy supply.

Allow the hatchlings to emerge and move to the beach naturally, without your help. Hatchlings orientate to the earths magnetic field during their trip to the water.

Leave the protective mesh on the nest, this will protect the nest from predators.

If Hatchlings emerge on your beach

Make a note of the date, time and location where the hatchlings emerged;

Contact TurtleCare on 0437 559 067 to report the emergence