The first turtle to nest at Mon Repos this summer has a very special connection to the area.
Known as flatback turtle X23103, she is one of the world’s longest-studied marine turtles, breeding for at least 47 years and visiting Mon Repos for more than 18 nesting seasons.
Wildlife officers from the Department of Environment and Science have been learning from X23103 ever since she was tagged at Mon Repos in 1974.
“She has so far accomplished 82 nesting crawls at Mon Repos,” a DES spokesperson said.
“She has laid more than 40 clutches with a nesting success of 49%.”
Mon Repos supports the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and has the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region.
The success of nesting and hatching turtles at Mon Repos is critical for the survival of the endangered loggerhead turtle.
Plenty to learn from Mon Repos flatback
Like other turtles being studied at Mon Repos, X23103 is teaching wildlife officers how long they live and how often they breed.
“Satellite telemetry tracking of X23103 during her 2015-16 breeding season showed that she lives in Repulse Bay, 648 km north of Mon Repos beach,” the DES spokesperson said.
“She has a long-term fidelity with one nesting beach at Mon Repos, and in 2015 was recorded swimming 645 kilometres in 28 days, coming from Repulse Bay where she forages in the off season.”
According to the Department of Environment and Science, flatback turtles lay the fewest eggs of any marine turtle, with approximately 50 eggs per nest buried under the sand.
They return to the region of their origin to breed, with females then laying their eggs on a nesting beach.