Turtle lost by lure of lights

THEREhas been a timely reminder for coastal residents to cut the glow, withan experienced nesting turtle found lost at Nielson Park on Wednesdaynight.

Mon Repos Conservation Park ranger in charge Cathy Gatley said thetagged turtle was found by rangers about three metres inland from thebicycle track heading towards a light pole about 8pm.

“She got confused by the light and just kept going,” Mrs Gatley said.

The turtle, which has been breeding at the beach since 1984, did notlay and was led back to the beach using lights to attract her.

Mrs Gatley said it was not the first time the turtle, about 55 yearsold, had been stranded by lights. “We last saw her in 2005, when shehad to be rescued at Nielson Park when disoriented by streetlights,which caused her to be up wandering around close to the road,” she said.

With the turtle season having only just started, this will not be the last lost turtle found.

Mrs Gatley said the best way to prevent another incident like thiswas for coastal residents to switch off as many lights as possible.

“It really brings home the message that turtles need darkness for nesting,” she said.

“This is something we need and can do as a community.”

Mrs Gatley said during nesting season turtles did not eat much,meaning it was important they did not become disorientated and depletetheir energy stores.

She said residents would be asked to keep their lights low from7.30pm each night until April, when the hatching season was finished.

Tips to cut the glow include turning off unnecessary lights, closingcurtains and blinds, facing lights away from the beach and plantingvegetation to shield the light.

Turtle count
  • Ten loggerhead turtles have visited the region’s beaches
  • Two flatback turtles have been seen
  • No greenback turtles have been sighted
  • So far 677 people have visited the park to see the turtles

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