Many of the beaches in our region are nesting sites for sea turtles.
The Strand, Magnetic Island, AIMS beach, Wunjunga and Queens Beach in Bowen are just a few of the beaches visited by turtles between October and March each year.
NQ Dry Tropics has been working with the Sea Turtle Foundation, Gudjuda Traditional Owners, Queens Beach Action Group and Digital Dimensions to help protect sea turtles.
During nesting seasons, female green and flat back sea turtles dig nests in the sand and deposit their eggs.
About 60 days after this, hatchlings break from the egg shells, make their way towards the surface of the sand and when it’s dark they scramble towards the ocean.
Both urban and industrial light can disorient them. Hatchlings become confused and will crawl towards unnatural light rather than the ocean.
NQ Dry Tropics financed an information sheet, published by the Sea Turtle Foundation, to help deal with light in the nesting season.
Safeguarding the Gungu
Six of the world’s seven species of sea turtle are found off the coast of Queensland. All sea turtles are listed as vulnerable or endangered.
Sea turtle and dugong have close connections to the coastal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and clan groups of Australia.
Indigenous Australians have many cultural values and beliefs for these species; from spiritual to medicinal and as food. NQ Dry Tropics has made a film about this.
The film called ‘Safeguarding the Gungu (sea turtle)’ shows how Traditional Owners can better manage sea turtles for a sustainable future and how populations are tracked and monitored through ‘tag and release’.
The film was developed by NQ Dry Tropics with the help of the Gudjuda Reference Group, and the Juru, Bindal, and Nywagi Traditional Owners with funding from the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country initiative.
It has already received international attention, following a screening at the 30th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation in India in 2010.