Teewah drivers warned as turtle hatchlings emerge
Drivers are being warned to be "extremely careful" on Coast beaches after Teewah residents were forced to flag down 4WDs to prevent them hitting turtle hatchlings.
The Department of Environment and Science has put out a warning to 4WD enthusiasts that hefty on-the-spot fines apply if they disturb turtle hatchlings, turtle nests or damage vegetated dunes by driving on them.
In the statement, the environment department said they were aware of at least 20 nests on Teewah Beach with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service monitoring the beach with the Noosa Shire Council and Cooloola Coastcare volunteers.
Not all heroes wear capes. A resident noticed some hatchlings at Double Island Point yesterday & alerted oncoming 4WDs so the turtles could get to the ocean safely. So be a turt-ally awesome hero, drive carefully in the area, & keep a look out for hatchlings #HeroesInAHalfShellpic.twitter.com/mawdZiLhXg— Queensland Environment (@QldEnvironment) March 4, 2021
It comes after quick thinking residents were forced to flag down and stop 4WDs on Wednesday at Double Island Point as hatchings emerged and scurried down to the water.
"Motorists should drive slowly when driving on Teewah Beach, travel at low tide when safe to do so and always look out for turtle hatchlings," the statement read.
"Cooloola Coastcare volunteers monitored a nest at Double Island Point (Teewah Side) at 6am on Wednesday and counted 141 hatchlings that made their way to the ocean."
Hatchlings are most likely emerge at night.
Sunshine Coast Council's TurtleCare reported 50 loggerhead nests between November 21, 2019 and February 10 last year.
A total of 6151 eggs were laid with 4152 of those needing to be relocated due to erosion, tidal inundation, weather or artificial light.
The environment department said driving over vegetated dunes was dangerous and prohibited.
The maximum penalty for illegally killing, injuring or taking a marine turtle is $133,000.
Anyone who notices hatchlings emerging from a nest should call Cooloola Coastcare volunteers.