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Turtle monitoring season has started

Sea turtles are beginning to arrive on western Cape York Peninsula beaches to lay their eggs. The Western Cape Turtle Threat Abatement Alliance (WCTTA) is once again ready to protect these endangered creatures.

Turtles come to nest on the western Cape from July to October, many of them returning to the beaches where they hatched many years ago.

Australia protects its sea turtles well, but their offspring face danger on our beaches. A turtle might lay up to 100 eggs in a nest, and may create more than one nest.

But feral pigs plunder the nests, eating or breaking the eggs. Not long ago, only 10 percent of nests survived to hatching.

Now, that figure is close to 90 per cent, thanks to the Indigenous Ranger groups that make up the Western Cape Turtle Threat Abatement Alliance.

Since 2013, rangers from Mapoon, Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council/ Apudthama, Pormpuraaw, and Napranum have been running feral pig control programs, and taking practical steps to protect turtle nests.

Help protect marine turtles and their nesting habitat

  • Obey local regulations about using vehicles on beaches and camp locations

  • Where vehicles are allowed on the beach, only drive at low tide and stay on the wet sand below the high tide mark

  • At night, keep light to a minimum on the beach. Lights can confuse nesting turtles and hatchlings

  • Don’t let your dog disturb nesting turtles or their eggs

This year, they will monitor seven remote beaches – about 150 kilometres of coast - during the peak turtle nesting season. Some of those beaches have been harder to reach this year, due to the long wet season.

Cape York NRM Biodiversity Manager Kerri Woodcock said the goal is to ensure at least 70 per cent of local marine turtle clutches survive to hatching.

“70 percent survival is what’s needed to maintain viable marine turtle populations in our region.

“The WCTTA program has made a real difference on the Cape, protecting nests, reducing predation, giving these vulnerable creatures a much better chance of survival,” Kerri said.

Read more about WCTTA and learn how you can support turtle protection on Cape York on our website. 

WCTTAA is supported by Cape York NRM and the Nest to Ocean Turtle Protection Program, a joint initiative of the Australian and Queensland Governments

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