Menu
News

Thousands of turtle eggs lost due to extreme weather

TURTLES' TOUGH TIMES: Huge seas and tides washed away many of the loggerhead turtle nests.
TURTLES' TOUGH TIMES: Huge seas and tides washed away many of the loggerhead turtle nests. Rob Black

JUST as the endangered sea turtle population is increasing after decades of carnage caused by trawler nets, boat strikes and plastic floating in our coastal waters, Mother Nature has struck a huge blow to their recovery.

Ex-tropical cyclone Oswald whipped up huge seas and in conjunction with the big tides washed away tens of thousands of endangered turtle eggs.

Turtle nesting season runs from around November to April and many of the eggs laid early in the season were about to hatch just as the worst of the weather hit.

Mon Repos at Bargara, east of Bundaberg is one of Queensland's biggest turtle rookeries and an estimated 46,000 eggs, and potentially hatchlings, were lost during the extreme weather.

And hundreds and possibly thousands of eggs too may have been lost along The Discovery and Capricorn coasts in similar conditions.

Turtle expert Col Limpus, chief scientist with the Department of Environment and Heritage said the bad weather was bad timing for the hatchlings.

"Gale-force winds coming in on very high tides and so it's eroded the nesting habitat for the turtles,'' he said.

"We had the maximum number of clutches for the year because not that many had hatched and the end result we lost about 60% of all of the clutches that were in the beach."

Mainly loggerhead turtles nest on the coastal beaches of the Gladstone Region, with lesser numbers of flatback, leatherback and green turtles.

And in a double-whammy for the turtles and dugongs, the flooding and resultant silting and the big seas may affect already damaged sea-grass beds including those of Gladstone Harbour and the Great Barrier Reef.

Hannah Jones, a guide on Heron Island, said the seagrass beds, which were still recovering from the floods in 2010-2011, may have been damaged even more by Oswald.

"The Queensland floods have washed a lot of sediment off the mainland onto the seagrass beds off the coast which is mainly what the green turtles would eat,'' she said.

Topics:  cq discovery coast endangered floods high tides mon repos oswald turtles


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Gallery hums with two new exhibitions

SHOW STOPPER: Hobie Porter at the opening of Unnatural History: The Tower Hill Project at The Lismore Regional Gallery.

Regional Gallery hums with two new exhibitions

Chicks With Attitude - the true meaning behind the CWA

BAKE READY: Alison (centre) on the new branch of Lismore's CWA outside the tea rooms at Spinks Park.

Meet the CWA chicks who serve crackerjack scones

Um... can you just not?

CANDID: Barnaby Joyce caught eyeing off former staffer and current partner Vikki Campion back at a summit in 2016.

When you doing something you think you shouldn't, can you just not?

Local Partners