Bribie's hatchlings need our help

Published 5:00am 14 February 2023

Bribie's hatchlings need our help
Words by Nick Crockford

Above: A rare green turtle hatchling on Bribie's surfside beach making its way to the ocean in April last year. Picture Darren Jew

Bribie Island is expecting its first turtle hatchlings of the season in coming weeks – and beachgoers are urged to help them make it from “egg to sea”.

It follows the first Sunshine Coast hatchlings from two nests earlier this month, when more than 200 hatchlings made their way from Buddina Beach to the ocean.

Citizen scientists from Bribie Island Turtle Trackers and Sunshine Coast TurtleCare are monitoring the length of Bribie’s eastern beach.

Richard Ogden, President of Bribie Island Environmental Protection Association (BEIPA), said this year more than 30 nests have been logged, so far. 

Numbers of sea turtles have been on the increase over the last two decades, from critically low numbers around the year 2000.

Bribie's hatchlings need our help
BIEPA's turtle trackers who are monitoring the island's eastern beaches

“After vital conservation measures started around that time, there has seen a slow but steady increase in numbers of loggerhead (and occasionally green) turtles nesting on Bribie,” Mr Ogden said.

“After around two months of incubation, the tiny hatchlings dig their way out of the nest chamber dug deep in the dunes by their mother.

“The average turtle mum lays around 100 eggs each clutch and once out of the nest the hatchlings instinctively head down the beach to the lightest part of the horizon and out to sea.

“It's vital that beachgoers play their part in helping ensure hatchlings make it from egg to sea.”

Here's how you can help for the remainder of the turtle hatchling season:

Bribie's hatchlings need our help
BIEPA members formed a giant turtle sculpture to mark the start of the new season.
  • Report turtle tracks, new nests and emerging hatchlings to Bribie Island Turtle Trackers on 0438 111 163.
  • Switch off your lights from 8pm as light pollution is distracting for turtles attempting to nest and for emerging hatchlings.
  • Make sure you clean up your picnic spots completely as food scraps encourage goannas and goannas love turtle hatchlings.
  • Re-consider beach driving on Bribie Island over the hatching period now until early April. Deep vehicle ruts in soft sand are like mountain ranges to tiny hatchlings. Overcoming these ruts dramatically increases the distance they need to travel from nest to sea. This can lead to exhaustion and the increased time on the beach makes them even more vulnerable to predators.
  • If you consider you must drive the beach, do so at low tide on hard sand only.

All Bribie Island Turtle Tracker and Sunshine Coast TurtleCare activities are conducted under Queensland Turtle Conservation Project permits by trained and authorised citizen scientists.

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