Flatback turtles nesting at Eighty Mile Beach

26 November 2013 1:58 AM

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Flatback turtles nesting at Eighty Mile Beach

Hundreds of flatback turtles are gathering at Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park in the Kimberley for their annual nesting.

Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) officers and Nyangumarta traditional owners have been monitoring the area for six weeks, recording more than 200 nests and 350 "false crawls" in the sample area. False crawls occur when females attempt to nest but return to the water without laying eggs due to disturbance or unsuitable nesting habitat.

DPaW community education officer Sara McAllister said Eighty Mile Beach was a significant flatback turtle nesting site.

"Flatback turtles only nest in northern Australia and they are endemic to this part of the world.

"With the Nyangumarta Traditional Owners, we are currently monitoring turtle tracks on a 6km stretch of beach in front of the Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park and using cameras to record any predation on the nests.

"During last year's nesting season, we counted 825 nests and 1410 false crawls in this same sample area so we are anticipating many more in the coming weeks."

Ms McAllister said turtle viewing was a popular activity, but care needed to be taken to not disturb or impact the turtles or their nests.

"We encourage people to witness this amazing event while following the 'Turtle Watchers Code of Conduct' to enhance their chances of a rewarding experience," she said. "If people disturb the turtle, it will go back into the ocean without laying and the viewer will miss out on the opportunity to see any eggs being laid."

Source: au.news.yahoo.com

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