Baby turtles burst out of their nest at Mon Repos Conservation Park.
Baby turtles burst out of their nest at Mon Repos Conservation Park. Max Fleet

Hatchlings emerge

THE first two batches of hatchlings swept the turtle season into its next phase at Mon Repos Conservation Park on Thursday night.

The hatchlings come as the rookery prepares to greet its 10,000th visitor for the season.

One set of loggerhead hatchlings and another set of flatbacks were the first group to make the journey from the sand to the ocean.

But according to Department of Environment and Resource Management chief scientist Col Limpus, it was still early days for the tiny turtles.

"It is still early in the season and we expect it will be several more weeks before hatchlings are emerging regularly," he said.

"One of the main challenges for the hatchlings is the glow from artificial lights, which can disorient them as they make their way to the sea."

Dr Limpus urged all residents, businesses and visitors to reduce outside lighting to help turtles navigate their way to the water without distraction.

Also on Thursday night, eight loggerhead turtles nested and another loggerhead emerged from the water but did not lay.

And the busy night on the beach was not lost to nature, with a capacity crowd visiting the conservation park yet again.

The influx of visitors meant the turtle rookery was expecting to reach 10,000 turtle tour visitors by last night.

Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism general manager James Corvan said the influx of visitors was "fantastic" for tourism in the region.

"They are still a little bit down on the 2009/2010 season, but we are putting that down to the slow start to the season," he said.

Mr Corvan said the visitor numbers had now exceeded those from the 2010/2011 season, which were deflated due to the 2010 Christmas floods.

But he said the number ofpeople wanting tickets was a positive sign.

"In the past two weeks we could have booked at least 2000 more tickets but we were booked to capacity," he said.



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