Summer of love sparks turtle boom time
  • Thursday 23 October 2008

Sea turtles are about to start their nesting season on Sunshine Coast beaches – and local residents are being asked to help protect the endangered species by reporting signs of turtle tracks.

Loggerhead turtles start breeding in waters off the coast from late October to November, before the females swim ashore to lay their eggs – usually by late November.

Because there is no definite start date, the Sunshine Coast Regional Council is asking residents to stay alert for turtle tracks from the water’s edge to the sand dunes from about mid November onwards.

Those who take early morning beach walks are especially likely to spot the start of the season, according to the Council’s Marine Turtle Breeding program co-ordinator Julie O’Connor.

“We need more eyes on the beach,” Ms O’Connor said. “If people are aware that it’s turtle breeding season and they go on an early morning beach walk, they can ring and let us know where the turtles are coming in.”

Once alerted, Turtle Care volunteers will place fox-proof mesh over the nests to protect the turtle eggs from foxes and other predators. On most Sunshine Coast beaches, volunteers will monitor the nests during incubation and emergence time to maximise the hatching and survival chances of the young turtles.

“Without the dedication of the volunteers, we could potentially lose all our turtle eggs to foxes,” Ms O’Connor said.

Wildlife officers predict the 2008/09 season will see about 30 turtle nests on Sunshine Coast beaches. Anyone interested in becoming a turtle volunteer can attend a meeting at the Currimundi Community and Recreation Hall on Tuesday 4 November at 7.30pm.

If you spot nesting turtles or turtle tracks, please ring council on 5499 5136 or 0437 559067. If you see an injured or stranded turtle, report it to the Turtle Hotline on 1300 130 372.