The bells at St Peter’s Anglican Church in Bargara tolled today to celebrate the arrival of the first nesting turtle at Mon Repos.
Flatback turtle X8473 was first recorded nesting at Mon Repos rookery in 1977 and has had 17 breeding seasons since this time.
She came ashore on Mon Repos beach on Friday night and after digging her egg chamber laid 64 eggs in her first clutch for the season.
Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith said the ringing of the bells not only signalled the arrival of Flatback turtle X8473 but also the thousands of tourists returning to the Bundaberg Region for the start of the turtle season.
“Rangers, researchers and volunteers patrolling the beach were excited to witness the first turtle ashore for the breeding season on the weekend,” he said.
“While the bells signals the return of the turtles to Mon Repos for the nesting season, it’s also marks the arrival of thousands of tourists from across Queensland and interstate headed for Bundaberg to experience all that our region has to offer.”
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said last year 364 turtles migrated to nest on the beaches of the Woongarra Coast.
“On top of this, 16,615 people visited Mon Repos during the previous turtle season which is a testament to its popularity and educational value for visitors,” Minister Scanlon said.
“It’s why the Palaszczuk Government upgraded the turtle centre to add to the experience and environmental value, with an additional 42 hectares in the surrounding area acquired and protected, and a major award-winning overhaul of the centre in 2020.
“It’s now also almost run entirely off of renewable energy with 446 solar panels powering the popular tourism destination.
“If you’re planning on visiting us at the centre for a day tour you can book online, or if joining one of our Ranger-guided Turtle Encounter tours then I encourage you to snap up your tickets as they’re selling fast.
Mon Repos Turtle Encounter is the only ranger-guided turtle encounter available on the east coast and is instrumental in the research into turtle conservation.
Mon Repos Conservation Park supports the largest population of nesting loggerhead turtles in the South Pacific and is critical to the survival of this endangered turtle.
Visit the Mon Repos Turtle Centre website for more information.