Island campgrounds to be closed for wildlife protection
TWO national park islands off the coast of Gladstone will soon be off limits to campers in order to protect local wildlife, the State Government announced today.
The campgrounds at Lady Musgrave Island and North West Island, part of the Capricornia Cays national park, will be closed from January 29 to March 29 to maximise the survival of turtle hatchlings and seabird chicks.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service principal ranger Dave Orgill said the closures occurred annually to reduce disturbance and minimise human impacts on the animals' breeding grounds.
"The camping closure will also allow time for the islands' vegetation, which has limited occurrence outside of the Capricornia Cays national park and is particularly susceptible to disturbances, to recuperate," Mr Orgill said.
Mr Orgill said the annual closure helped turtles and seabirds - such as black noddies, wedge-tailed shearwaters, roseate terns, black-naped terns and bridled terns - breed with minimal disturbance at the significant breeding rookeries.
"Around three quarters of seabird biomass found in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is concentrated in the Capricornia Cays," he said.
"While Lady Musgrave and North West Islands are a no-go zone for campers for this short period, we encourage locals and holidaymakers to make plans to revisit on Good Friday (March 30) when the sites reopen to camping."
Mr Orgill said the closure period was also a reminder to boaties to keep a good lookout and slow down for turtles.
"These large reptiles, especially the green turtles, are known to bask at the water's surface and are sometimes slow to react to approaching vessels," he said.
"We ask boaties to do the right thing and reduce their speed in estuaries, sandy straits and shallow inshore areas.
"Remember to 'go slow for those below'."
Sightings of sick, injured or dead marine turtles can be reported by phoning 1300 264 625 (1300 ANIMAL).