- Friday 09 January 2015
In an effort to rebuild the dwindling loggerhead turtle population a dedicated team of volunteers from across the region spend many thousands of hours locating and caring for turtles nesting on Sunshine Coast beaches.
Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said volunteers from TurtleCare Sunshine Coast operated at the request of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and were fully supported by Sunshine Coast Council.
“There are only 500 nesting females in eastern Australia and the Sunshine Coast population continues to be vital to the long term survival of this species,” Cr McKay said.
“The coastal strip between Point Cartwright and Shelly Beach is a favourite site but turtles may also appear on other stretches of the Coast.
“Our TurtleCare volunteers do a remarkable job helping relocate nests, recording numbers, identifying species and protecting nests from predators.”
One of the biggest threats to loggerheads at the egg and hatchling stages on Sunshine Coast beaches comes from the introduced European red fox and, to a lesser extent, from unrestrained dogs on nesting beaches.
To minimise this impact, volunteers cover all turtle nests with construction mesh that prevents predation by foxes and dogs, while still allowing hatchlings to emerge naturally and unassisted.
Occasionally, when a nest is at imminent risk of erosion through tidal or storm action, specially trained and authorised volunteers will relocate a nest to a safer position.
Everyone can do their part. Beachgoers who observe turtles should call TurtleCare on 0437 559 067. This allows volunteers to find the turtle nest and cover it with exclusion mesh to protect it from foxes.
It’s also important to switch off any torches and ensure dogs are secured on leashes and kept well away.
The TurtleCare program is a great example of council and the community working together to protect the environment.