HALF CENTURY : Turtles are in the blood of researcher Col Limpusafter 50 years of research.
HALF CENTURY : Turtles are in the blood of researcher Col Limpusafter 50 years of research. Eliza Goetze BUN251215COL3

A life-long love of turtles

THE first turtles have arrived at Mon Repos to nest, signaling the beginning of turtle season in Queensland.

This turtle season is extra significant as it marks 50 years since Col Limpus launched the Queensland Turtle Conservation Program.

In Queensland, the loggerhead turtle population is showing signs of recovery, which can be directly linked to the practices Dr Limpus and his team have implemented over the past 50 years.

For Dr Limpus, the half-century of research and his love for turtles stems from nights on the beach at Mon Repos as a young child.

"My father brought me down here (to Mon Repos) as a five-year-old child. It was tradition to come to Mon Repos to see the new year in, since 1956.

"I've only missed one new year on the beach with turtles,” he said.

"In 1968 I started a four-year study on flatback turtles. All I can say is it got out of hand and it's still going.

"The Queensland Turtle Conservation Program has changed the whole face of conservation of turtles in Queensland.”

After a record 2016-17 season, it is estimated more than 30,000 people will descend on Mon Repos for Turtle Encounter Tours throughout the nesting and hatching season.

After 50 years Col's legacy is unavoidable, but what he's most focused on is instilling the love, appreciation and practices to sustain turtle populations in younger generations.

"I grew up with turtles, and I'd like my grandkids and my great-grandkids to enjoy the things I did.

"If that's a legacy I can contribute to than I'd like that,” he said.

Mon Repos supports the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and has the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region.

The first Turtle Encounter Tour was run on Monday and there are places available next week.

Bookings are essential and can be made at http://bit.ly/2gqe44t.



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