Australian Seabird Rescue is celebrating Coastcare Week (Dec 7-13) with the launch of a competition designed to get everyone on the beach this summer to keep an eye out for sea turtles.
The first person to call ASR after spotting turtle tracks on the beach leading to a turtle nest will receive a prize pack from the ASR Gift Shop full of turtle goodies (valued at $40).
“We expect at least 20 turtle nests in the area this summer, so there’s at least 20 chances to win,” ASR General Manager Keith Williams said.
But there’s a serious reason for the competition this year.
“We need anyone and everyone out there looking for turtles or turtle tracks from now until the end of March,” Keith said.
“With beach erosion from the June storms yet to be replaced in many places, there are still steep sand cliffs along many beaches.
“Turtle nests laid at the bottom of these cliffs will be in danger of inundation from subsequent summer king tides.
“We have to spot the nest the same day it’s laid if we are to relocate the nest to a safer spot.
“A turtle track looks like someone has rolled a giant tractor tyre up out of the water to the edge of the dunes and then back to the water.”
A trained volunteer can identify the species of turtle from the pattern of the turtle track.
“It’s amazing that each species has its own unique way of crawling,” Keith said.
“Some do freestyle, others butterfly.
“Most of the nests laid on the North Coast will be from the endangered Loggerhead turtle. Moving one nest has the potential to save 100 hatchlings, so that can have a big impact in later years.”
Last summer was also a record for ASR, with 30 turtles in care at one time.
“It seems that when people are out looking for turtle nests, they’re also more likely to spot a sick or injured turtle,” Keith said.
During the coming school holidays ASR volunteers will be distributing a new Turtle Guide brochure throughout the North Coast.
- In the Tweed Shire turtle nests have been found in the last two years on beaches at Kingscliff and Casuarina.
- In Byron Shire turtle nests have been found in the last two years on beaches at Tallow, Belongil and New Brighton beaches.
- In Ballina Shire turtle nests have been found in the last two years on beaches at Lennox Head, Angels and South Ballina.
- In the Richmond Valley turtle nests have been found in the last two years on beaches at Evans Head.
- In the Clarence Valley turtle nests have been found in the last two years on beaches at Woody Head, Pippi’s and Back Beach Angourie.
“We recommend people program the ASR number (ph 66 862 852) straight into their mobile phone. That way it’s always handy if they spot any marine wildlife in need of help,” said Keith.