19 March 2009

Sea turtle hatchlings rescued from oil spill

Turtle hatchlings flowed like a “volcano” from the sand on a beach affected by the 200-thousand litre oil spill along 60 kilometres of south-east Queensland coastline. Fortunately, rangers and volunteers had mounted a round-the-clock watch over 21 turtle nests on the shores waiting for the young to emerge. Cages were put over each nest to stop the baby turtles crossing oily sand after they hatch. As soon as the young turtles appear they would be moved to clean beaches and released.

Turtle hatchlings released after oil spill
ABC News 19 Mar 09;
South-east Queensland authorities have given turtle hatchlings a better start to life after last week's oil spill hit Sunshine Coast beaches.

The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday released about 120 turtle hatchlings that emerged from a Buddina Beach nest on Tuesday night.

They were taken to Teewah Beach to make sure they aren't affected by the oil slick.

The Pacific Adventurer spilt more than 200-thousand litres of oil along 60 kilometres of south-east Queensland coastline last Wednesday.

Julie O'Connor from the Turtle Care group says it was a good outcome after days of worry about the impacts of the oil spill.

"We've got another three or four nests that are due in the next few days as well so hopefully we'll have a repeat of it," Ms O'Connor said.

The Sunshine Coast Regional Council says some of the beaches are returning to normal.

The red flags came out at many north coast beaches after they were coated in oil.

The Council says Wurtulla, Kawana, Twin Waters and Mudjimba beaches remain closed, but the rest are open.

Turtles released
The Sunshine Coast Daily 19 Mar 09;
Buddina turtle watch volunteer Merv Paddison said the Sunshine Coast’s first post-oil spill hatchlings flowed like a “volcano” from the sand of Buddina beach on Tuesday night.

One hundred and fourteen hatchlings made a much-anticipated debut at 10.30pm from the original wooden prototype nest enclosure that would stop them heading for the oil-contaminated water near Point Cartwright.

“You just knew every effort had been made to keep them safe so they could be left to their own devices,” Mr Paddison said.

Mr Paddison and wife Anne contacted TurtleCare Sunshine Coast who then moved the baby turtles to UnderWater World.

The turtle hatchlings were released on Teewah Beach on Noosa’s north shore yesterday afternoon.

Rescue mission to save oil spill turtles
Courier Mail 19 Mar 09;
RANGERS and volunteers have mounted a 24-hour operation to save thousands of turtle hatchlings on Queensland's oil-polluted beaches.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rangers, trained volunteers and council officers have mounted a round-the-clock watch over 21 turtle nests on the Sunshine Coast waiting for the young to emerge.

Cages have been put over each nest to stop the baby turtles crossing oily sand after they hatch.

As soon as the young turtles appear they'll be moved to clean beaches and released, the EPA has said.

The hatchlings will need to be released onto clean beaches as soon as possible, EPA chief scientist Dr Col Limpus has said.

About 120 hatchlings were collected from a nest on Buddina Beach north of Caloundra yesterday morning, kept temporarily at Underwater World at Mooloolaba, and released in the afternoon by rangers at Teewah Beach on the North Noosa River.

The EPA estimates each of the remaining 21 nests holds around 125 eggs on average.

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