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Turtle season takes off

MORE than 130 visitors will head to Mon Repos Conservation Park for the start of the turtle season which officially begins tomorrow.
MORE than 130 visitors will head to Mon Repos Conservation Park for the start of the turtle season which officially begins tomorrow. Max Fleet BUNTURT

MORE than 130 visitors will head to Mon Repos Conservation Park for the start of the turtle season which officially begins tomorrow.

Ranger in charge Cathy Gatley said initial indications were looking good for the 2012/2013 season with the first turtle arriving over two weeks ago.

"We've already had one turtle so far on the October 25," she said.

"She's due to come back and lay her second clutch any night now."

Ms Gatley said staff and volunteers had been busy preparing for the season which will run until the end of March.

"There are 45 local volunteers who finished their training last week," she said.

"They will be helping in the information centre as well as down on the beach."

A record number of 29,408 visitors came through Mon Repos last year and Ms Gatley said it was encouraging to see so many people taking up the opportunity to learn about the turtles and wildlife conservation.

"We aim too educated people about what they can do to ensure the survival of the turtles for future generation," she said.

"It also helps us promote the message 'cut the glow to help the turtles go' which is having a big impact."

For locals who have not yet ventured down to the turtle rookery, Ms Gatley said the start of the season was the perfect time to book a visit.

"Now is a great time because it's before the holidays start and it gets really busy," she said.

Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism general manager Rick Matkowski agreed that with the reputation of the turtle steadily growing, booking early was the best way to avoid missing out.

"Mon Repos is now third in the top 10 things to do in Queensland on Queensland Holidays website," he said.

"We are already up and running with booking up 25% compared to last year."

Mr Matkowski said in only its third year, the turtle tourism campaign has seen interest grow immensely.

"It's fantastic and it's thanks to the turtles and the rangers," he said.

To book your turtle encounter contact the Bundaberg Visitor Information Centre on 4153 8888 or book online at bookbundabergregion.com.au.


BY THE NUMBERS

Visitors
2011/12 - 29,408
2010/11 - 20,780
2009/10 - 26,430
2008/09 - 23,383
2007/08 - 24,731
Turtles
2011/12 - 304
2010/11 - 450
2009/10 - 400
2008/09 - 258
2007/08 - 324
 



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