Turtles avoid city lights

THREE Mon Repos mums have completed a mammoth swim, splashing through 3250km over five months.

And, unlike most travellers, GPS evidence shows they stayed far away from the bright lights of coastal hotspots.

Loggerhead turtles Taka, Rush and Leonie were tracked as part of a study to help experts understand the movements of the endangered species.

“This groundbreaking study has provided real insight into the turtles’ travels, and their apparent search for dark offshore habitats and beaches away from the lights of urban areas,” state Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones said.

The latest tracking, sponsored by Rush Surf and Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, shows a narrow migratory corridor takes the turtles from Mon Repos and nearby beaches, through the waters of Great Sandy Marine Park and down into Moreton Bay Marine Park — sticking closely to the coastline.

Dr Col Limpus, chief scientist for marine and freshwater ecology within the Department of Environment and Resource Management, said the three turtles involved in the first round of satellite tracking all followed similar routes.

“While the tracked turtles were gestating their eggs last summer, they stayed offshore from the darker area of the coast between Mon Repos and the Burnett River mouth,” Dr Limpus said.

“While further tracking and testing is required, this initial evidence suggests they may have been trying to avoid the brightly lit skyline of areas both on the land and at sea that are closer to urban development.”



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