As we approach our third La Niña summer in a row, NSW TurtleWatch urges all beachgoers to report sea turtle tracks and nests as soon as possible.
Holly West from NSW TurtleWatch said public tipoffs last year helped them save four nests that would otherwise have been washed away in stormy weather.
“From the nests we successfully relocated last year, 376 baby turtles hatched and made their way to the ocean,” said West.
“That’s almost 400 baby turtles saved by those members of the public who gave us a call.
“Green and loggerhead sea turtles which nest on NSW beaches are both threatened species, so it’s vital we do everything we can to protect every nest and every egg during this critical breeding period.”
West said with yet another La Niña summer on the way, sea turtle nests will be in the firing line once again with increased storm activity.
“Nesting turtle tracks disappear from the beach very quickly, so the earlier we are notified about tracks or the location of a potential nest, the better.
“This allows us to monitor the nest from the get-go and act to save the eggs if the nest is at risk of being inundated by high tides or impacted by other threats, such as predators, erosion or light pollution,” she said.
In 2021–22, 11 sea turtle nesting activities were recorded on NSW beaches.
“Each nesting season, in collaboration with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, we collect data on how many sea turtles are utilising the NSW coastline to nest,” said West.
“The more we understand about how, where and when marine turtles nest, the more we will be able to protect them,” she said.
Typically, female turtles emerge from the ocean to lay their eggs between dusk and dawn, so beachgoers should keep vigilant for signs in the sand if they’re out walking or swimming early in the morning.
Sightings of nesting turtles, turtle tracks or nests should be reported to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) on 13000 PARKS or to NSW TurtleWatch on 0468 489 259.