Shade cloth cutting the heat and boosting incubation rates at Mon Repos
THE survival rate of Mon Repos turtles is being increased thanks to the installation of a new shade cloth.
The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service is using the shade cloth to help reduce the impact of climate change at the world-renowned turtle nesting site.
Environment and National Parks Minister Dr Steven Miles said the "turtle tactic'' was helping the incubation of hatchlings.
"Queensland isn't immune from the effects of climate change,” Dr Miles said.
"As temperatures rise, it is important we step up efforts to protect turtles and their eggs at Mon Repos which has the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region.
"The success of nesting and hatching turtles at Mon Repos is critical for the survival of the endangered loggerhead turtle.
"Sand temperature can impact the incubation rates of turtles.
"Incubation success starts to fall away around 32 degrees, and once you get higher than that basically it's lethal for eggs.
"The shade structures allow QPWS rangers to relocate turtle nests during extremely hot seasons and provide cooler temperatures to boost the rates of successful incubation,” Dr Miles said.
Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said another measure under the Nest to Ocean Turtle Protection Program was helping improve turtle hatching success for loggerheads at Wreck Rock Beach, to the north of Mon Repos.
Ms Donaldson said mesh was being used to protect turtle nests from predation from goannas, which are known to eat thousands of eggs and hatchlings each year.
"It is an effective way to protect the hatchlings by allowing them to safely emerge from the nest,” she said.
"Wreck Rock Beach is the second largest mainland-nesting site for loggerheads in the South Pacific Ocean with more 70 endangered female loggerheads nesting there each year.
"Therefore, active nest protection and predator control efforts at Wreck Rock Beach help to reduce the threat posed by goannas and other predators”.
The Nest to Ocean Turtle Protection Program provides grant funding for projects implementing predator control activities at turtle rookeries under threat. This initiative is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Government.