MON REPOS: Department of Environment and Heritage Protection Chief Scientist Dr Col Limpus.
MON REPOS: Department of Environment and Heritage Protection Chief Scientist Dr Col Limpus. Mike Knott BUN121216TURTLE5

Artificial rain to help turtles live

BUNDABERG'S Mon Repos turtle rookery will be the first to trial a new sprinkler system aimed to keep nests cool throughout the laying process.

Sand temperatures have been increasing, resulting in more hatchlings being female.

The ideal sand temperature for turtle nesting is 29 degrees, however, readings as high as 32 degrees have been recorded at the beach.

High temperatures also mean fatality numbers are on the rise.

It is hoped the new sprinkler system will keep the sand stay cooler during the nesting period to help offset the summer sun.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife chief scientist Dr Col Limpus said they were trialling the world-first addition to see whether they could manipulate sand temperatures through artificial rain.

Temperatures will be monitored both above and below-ground with the systems running each night.

"The predictions are that it's going to get hotter over the decades to come so now is the time to look for options, not in the future when we have a major problem," Dr Limpus said.

Hatching numbers have halved during the past two seasons due to high sand temperatures.



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