Turtle hatchlings have started to make their way down the sand at Mon Repos after 351 individual nesting turtles have been recorded this season.
Cooler conditions this summer has meant a greater percentage of the eggs that were laid successfully hatched, boosting the number of the endangered sea creatures.
Mon Repos Turtle Centre ranger in charge Cathy Gatley said the cooler summer weather along with the scattered showers had helped with egg development.
“We have so far seen good incubation success of nests,” she said.
“So, we are back up to around 80 percent hatchling success from the nests and this is great to see.
“The sand temperatures have been at a good level for the nests and hopefully this will continue for the remainder of the season.
“The scattered showers have helped keep the dunes moist and cooler which is a good environment for hatchling production.”
Cathy said the first nesting turtles were recorded in November last year, and to date 342 Loggerhead Turtles and nine Flatback Turtles have nested along the Woongarra Coast.
“At this point in the season we should have approximately 90 per cent of the total annual nesting population already recorded, over the last two weeks we have seen a few more turtles arriving to begin nesting as the season draws to a close,” she said.
“Last summer, we recorded 374 nesting loggerheads for the Woongarra Coast.
“We were expecting this season to have very similar numbers. The season started strongly, however, nesting numbers appear to be dropping off faster than expected, so the end of the main nesting period may occur sooner than normal.
“It is of concern that for the last four seasons we have seen a trend of reduced numbers of nesting loggerhead turtles and presently we may not match last season’s individual turtle count.”
Cathy said this season had been going well for visitors, with nesting turtles and turtle hatchlings available for night-time viewing.
“Some visitors have had to wait well into the night before a turtle arrives, others get straight onto the beach, every night at Mon Repos is different!” she said.
“We are fully booked for night tours and this is due to us having reduced capacity for COVID requirements.
“One of the main changes had been the reduction in group sizes going to a turtle event on the beach. For repeat visitors who have been in the past in groups of 60, they have been enjoying the smaller groups of 20 this season.
“It is great to see so many people wanting to come to our region and to Mon Repos Turtle Centre to experience the nesting turtle season and learn about the endangered loggerhead turtle.
“For people wishing to come to Mon Repos we still have availability for daytime visits to the Turtle Centre and visitors can get an insight into the turtles world and have a chat to rangers and volunteers working to protect the species.”
Cathy said for local residents now was a great time to try to reduce artificial light exposure as the little turtle hatchlings are emerging and looking for the natural light horizon over the ocean to find their way.
“So, if you live locally or have a business in the coastal areas take some action to Cut the Glow to help turtles go!” she said.