BABY BOOM: Thousands of turtles have hatched in Bundaberg this turtle season.
BABY BOOM: Thousands of turtles have hatched in Bundaberg this turtle season.

Hatchling turtles wind up at bakery

WHEN Leanne Finnis went to open her bakery at Bargara early in the morning, she got a surprise in the cutest of forms.

Mrs Finnis said she was walking inside Bargara Beach Bakehouse at 4am when she spotted a baby turtle in the walkway.

"It was just sitting there. I think it might have been a bit lost,” she said.

"I yelled out to the bakers that there was a turtle in the bakery and they were just as shocked as I was.”

"The tide was quite low so I walked it all the way down to the boat ramp and to the water.”

The bakery owner said, upon her return, she stumbled across another baby turtle that had made its way to the front door of the shop.

"It was a lovely start to the morning - definitely a nice little surprise - and we were happy to be able to help them on their journey back to the ocean,” she said.

According to Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, about 200 clutches of turtle eggs have hatched at Bundaberg's world-renowned Mon Repos nesting site so far this season, potentially sending thousands of hatchlings scurrying towards the ocean.

A further 80 have been recorded at Moore Park Beach.

Environment Minister Steven Miles said scientists and rangers expected more than 1300 clutches of eggs will hatch in total this hatching season (January to April).

"Mon Repos is of particular importance as a nesting site for the endangered loggerhead turtle, which lay around 125 eggs per clutch,” he said.

"Green turtles and flatbacks also use the rookery, laying 115 eggs and 50 eggs per clutch respectively - so if we are talking about potentially 1300 clutches all up this season, that's certainly a lot of hatchlings.”

Dr Miles said 387 loggerheads, seven flatbacks and one green turtle migrated to nest on the Woongarra Coast last season, with the main concentration at Mon Repos.

Nesting turtles are easily disturbed by artificial light and movement especially when leaving the water, crossing the beach and digging their nests.

Dr Miles said hatching turtles emerging from their nests are disorientated by lights.

Artificial light disturbance can be from a single light directly opposite a nesting beach or from the collective glow of lights from a coastal community.

If you find hatchlings crawling inland of the nesting beaches in Bundy, phone 0427 633 002 to notify EHP research staff.

CUTE: A baby loggerhead turtle.
CUTE: A baby loggerhead turtle.


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