October 20th 2009
Turtle nesting starts early on Magnetic Island
The first turtle of the season has been spotted nesting on a Magnetic Island beach, heralding an early start to this year’s nesting season. The first turtles usually arrived at the end of October but Magnetic Times took a call from a resident who spotted a reptile making her way up Nelly Bay beach last week.
Member for Townsville Mandy Johnstone is, it seems, very keen on turtles and their protection.
She said people needed to be aware of nesting turtles in the area.
“Magnetic Island is an important breeding ground for green and flatback turtles which are both listed as vulnerable species,” Ms Johnstone said.
“Turtles will come ashore to nest on beaches all around the island from now through to January so I ask people to please take care around the turtles and nesting areas.
“If you see a turtle on the beach let her nest in peace as light, noise and movement can cause her to turn back to the water.
“The popular nesting locations for turtles are Nelly Bay, Horseshoe Bay, Radical Bay and West Point.
“People living in these areas should keep outdoor lighting to a minimum to avoid disrupting the mother turtles and hatchlings.”
Ms Johnstone said Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers monitor and record turtle nesting activity on the island.
“Rangers record the turtle location and the species, and monitor the nests for any potential threats and hatching success,” Ms Johnstone said.
“If the nest is deemed to be vulnerable to flooding, feral animal or human interference they’ll put up protection around the nest such as barricades or signs.
“Records from the area show that hatchlings can be expected around 55 days after the eggs are laid.
Ms Johnstone said the community can play an important role in helping protect turtles.
“If you see any nesting turtles, turtle tracks or nests please phone the local rangers on 0407 590 378 or 4778 5378,” she said.
“It’s also important not to create fires on the beaches or drive vehicles on dunes and beaches where turtles nest as this will destroy eggs.”
“Unfortunately most nests on Magnetic Island were lost last year after storm surge and king tide events.
“There are a number of threats facing turtles including feral animal predation of eggs, boats strikes, ingestion or entanglement in marine pollution,” Ms Johnstone said.
“These animals need all the help they can get to survive and with the community’s assistance we can help protect these animals.”
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