From November to March each year, the cycle of laying, hatching and migrating to the ocean takes place among the loggerhead turtle population at Mon Repos beach. This important conservation site is helping to improve the survival of this protected species.
The loggerhead turtle is not only recognised as endangered in Queensland, but also nationally, with recent rebate schemes, ongoing education programs and the introduction of marine protected areas all working to try and overcome the main threats to their population. These include light pollution, boat strikes, feral predators and crab pots. In recent years, there have been some positive signs for their survival, but 2017 unleashed a new threat with the sand temperatures soaring as high as 81 degrees.
To overcome this most recent threat, shade structures were constructed to mitigate the dangers of this extreme heat during migration, but these improvements are only possible with funding. Additional State Government funding was included in the 2016 budget to allow expansion, but the other major contributions come from tourism in the area and the 30,000+ visitors who come to experience this unique wildlife encounter in the Bundaberg region each year.
The conservationists and dedicated volunteers at Mon Repos have been working hard to educate the public on the importance of protecting the turtles ever since the Mon Repos Conservation Park opened to the public in 1994 as an ecotourism destination. Visitors come from as far as Germany to experience what it’s like to live the life of a turtle for an evening, whilst also gaining an appreciation for the threats they face and the importance of their survival.
If you wish to experience a magical evening at Mon Repos the season starts in November with nesting and laying, then by January the hatchlings start emerging from the nests to make their way to the ocean.
Full details can be found at bundabergregion.org/turtles.