Region's baby turtles thriving with new protection method
BEV and Nev McLachlan have monitored turtle nesting at Deepwater's Wreck Rock Beach for the past 42 years.
The Turtlecare Volunteers couple spends every season collecting data as part of a conservation project headed by renowned Mon Repos turtle researcher Dr Col Limpus.
Mr McLachlan said sightings this season at Wreck Rock, a major loggerhead site, were consistent with previous years but suffered slightly following the bushfires which left Deepwater National Park badly burnt.
He noticed fewer green turtles but said this was anticipated as they did not have a consistent nesting pattern and experienced a "good season once every several years” only.
However, Mr McLachlan said a clear increase in predators was cause for alarm, and ongoing studies showed native goannas and introduced foxes posed the greatest threat.
"It's alarming because we're producing fewer and fewer hatchlings every year that go back into the ocean,” he said.
To help fix the problem the team have started trialling a protection method which involves placing plastic mesh over turtle nests to block access.
"At the end of the season we have to ensure all of those nest protection devices are removed and monitored so that the hatchlings are not encumbered in any way during their passage down to the sea,” Mr McLachlan said.
He said about 200 devices had already been placed and results were promising, with only failed attempts at predation noticed.