A hatchling was found wandering around the playground at Nielson Park after losing its way due to bright lights.
A hatchling was found wandering around the playground at Nielson Park after losing its way due to bright lights. Contributed

Light is deadly for our turtles

THE devastating effects of bright lighting in our coastal communities became all too clear this week when residents awoke to find dead hatchlings scattered around Bargara and Woodgate.

Mon Repos ranger-in-charge Cathy Gatley said a clutch of loggerhead turtle hatchlings had been found about 500m inland of Bargara on Thursday morning.

"Many of the hatchlings were dead, including some which were run over on the road," Mrs Gatley said.

"It's likely they were disoriented by street lights at Nielson Park."

Sadly, this was not the first time young turtles lost their way this week.

"Distressingly, this is the third case of clutches being disoriented by street lights over three consecutive nights," Mrs Gatley said.

The ranger said green turtle hatchlings had been run over on the road at Woodgate and residents had reported seeing loggerhead hatchlings at Elliott Heads on the previous nights.

"Lighting from homes, businesses and street lights disorients the hatchlings when they emerge from the nests," Ms Gatley said.

"Instead of heading for the water, they move towards the light and that can have tragic consequences, as we've seen over the past few days."

Ms Gatley pleaded with coastal residents to cut the glow.

"We ask all residents and visitors to turn off all their outside lights," she said.



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