This turtle nesting season, Sunshine Coast TurtleCare volunteers have been gifted with three separate visits from a special tagged (K90712) loggerhead turtle known as Mystify, who has laid her eggs at Buddina beach.
Volunteers suspect that she lives close to the Sunshine Coast as she returns frequently to lay eggs – the normal or expected interval is four years, but Mystify returns every one or two years.
Mystify was first tagged on 11 December 2010, 10 breeding seasons ago and on each of her 17 visits over the last decade, volunteers have diligently recorded her carapace (shell) length, nesting frequency, location and nesting success rate.
This season alone she has been observed laying three clutches, with close to 500 of her precious hatchlings reaching the ocean.
Sunshine Coast Council Conservation Officer Kate Hofmeister said this long-term data set is a significant achievement in turtle conservation as it provides consistent information to better understand changes in nesting turtle populations.
“TurtleCare Sunshine Coast has been collecting data for the past 16 years, and Mystify’s data contributes as our most researched turtle,” Mrs Hofmeister said.
“This data helps us to better understand the nesting patterns of marine turtles so that we can contribute to improved protection of these ancient animals.
“Our data tells us our Sunshine Coast nesting turtle population is stable, and a large part of that is thanks to the dedication of our highly trained TurtleCare and Coolum and North Shore Coast Care volunteers.”
Council’s TurtleCare Volunteer Program carries out marine turtle monitoring for nesting activity from Golden Beach to Point Cartwright.
Each day during the season, highly trained and dedicated volunteers walk our beaches, looking for signs of turtle nesting, protecting nests from predators or safely relocating any at-risk nests to give hatchlings the best chance for survival.
Mrs Hofmeister highlighted the importance of residents working together during the nesting season (October – March).
“Turtle nesting season is a time when the whole community can come together to celebrate and help protect these threatened species – keep plastic waste out of waterways and off beaches and cut the glow of lights after 8pm during turtle nesting season.”
To report turtle tracks, new nests and emerging hatchlings call either Sunshine Coast Council’s Turtle Care hotline or Coolum and North Shore Coast Care.
For sightings on the southern end of the coast call 0437 559 067 and for sightings from Mooloolaba north call Coolum and North Shore Coast Care on 0403 370 157.
Find out more about our native marine turtles, the TurtleCare volunteer program and the tracking project.