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Friday, January 21, 2022

Christmas time is turtle time

QUEENSLAND

Travelling through the Wide Bay and Burnett this holiday season? Then mark a visit to the Mon Repos Turtle Centre as a ‘must do’ on your itinerary.

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said Mon Repos, on the coast east of Bundaberg, supports the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland.

“It has the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region, and the success of nesting and hatching turtles at Mon Repos is critical for the survival of the endangered loggerhead turtle,” Ms Scanlon said.

“The Christmas and New Year holiday period is right in the middle of the turtle season, with nesting occurring from November to January and hatching from January to April.”

So far this season, 2910 nightly visitors have enjoyed watching and waiting for turtles to come up the beach and they have seen 85 loggerheads, 7 flatbacks and 2 green turtles lay.

Last year more than 350 turtles nested at Mon Repos and some 12,000 people joined in the Mon Repos night turtle tours.

The start of the turtle season is celebrated each year with the ‘Ringing of the Bells’ at Bargara, the closest population centre to Mon Repos.

Minister Scanlon said the bells rang early this year, with the first turtle to come ashore at Mon Repos returning to this globally significant turtle hatchery ahead of the usual turtle season.

“She was a flatback, romantically named X23103, and she has an amazing history, being our longest studied turtle, breeding for 47 years and nesting at Mon Repos for more than 18 seasons,” she said.

“She first appeared at Mon Repos in 1974, when she was first tagged, and she has so far accomplished more than 80 nesting crawls at Mon Repos and has laid more than 40 clutches with a nesting success of close to 50 per cent.”

The Mon Repos Turtle Centre is dedicated to marine turtle research, protection and education.

For information on visiting the centre and taking part in a night turtle tour, go to Mon Repos Turtle Centre.

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