A loggerhead turtle heads back to the water after laying 160 eggs in her nest on the beach at Mon Repos.
A loggerhead turtle heads back to the water after laying 160 eggs in her nest on the beach at Mon Repos. RON BURGIN

Turtles in record numbers

RESEARCHERS at Mon Repos Conservation Park are celebrating after recording the highest number of loggerhead turtles laying at the beach in the past 25 years — only two thirds of the way into the egg-laying season.

Department of Environment and Resource Management chief scientist Col Limpus said people who had been with the project long-term were thrilled with the news.

“It means we have clear evidence of a recovery of the loggerhead population,” Dr Limpus said.

More than 350 adult female loggerhead turtles have been recorded laying at Mon Repos since the season started in late October.

“A lot of our turtles are old hands, which means the turtles are surviving longer,” Dr Limpus said.

But he warned that the higher number of turtles was no reason to become lax in following the Cut the Glow guidelines.

“If we want to keep the population growing, we need to keep the beaches secure and stop development encroaching,” he said.

Dr Limpus said egg-laying would continue until late January, with clutches expected to start hatching steadily in the next couple of weeks.

Acting Premier Paul Lucas said the figures were a marked shift when compared to the all-time low in 2000.

“This success in the size of the population is directly attributable to the introduction of exclusion netting practices by the state and Commonwealth governments.

“It is measures like this that the prawn and trawling industry have adopted that are responsible for more turtles surviving to adulthood, and returning to Mon Repos two or three or more times to lay eggs,” Mr Lucas said.

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