Turtle lays its eggs at Pottsville

By BOB ANTHONY

YOU'D be surprised what you might see wandering along the beach in the early morning.

Pottsville's John McLean was enjoying his morning constitutional yesterday when he came across a large female turtle, laboriously making her way back to the ocean after laying eggs in a nest up in the dunes.

"I was out walking around 5.30am when I saw the turtle moving slowly down the beach," Mr McLean said.

"It wasn't long before there were about 20 people watching her. I have never seen them this far south before, though I have seen the turtles when they have come ashore further north at Mon Repos near Bundaberg.

"You could see her tracks up into the dunes and where she had been scratching around.

"I contacted the National Parks and Wildlife Services about the nest because I'm concerned that the nest is in a dog-free zone."

The National Parks and Wild- life Service's Nigel Greenup said staff had recorded the nest using GPS positioning and had asked Mr McLean if he and other residents who walked the area to keep an eye on the nest for signs of disturbance.

"We are reluctant to disturb the nest, but if it does appear that dogs or foxes are trying to get to the eggs, we may have to move them," Mr Greenup said.

"After talking with Mr McLean, we believe the turtle was either a green or loggerhead as both are very similar in appearance. Both are protected species.

"The females usually lay up to 100 eggs in the nest and this sighting is one of the first for this nesting season which runs through to about March."

Mr Greenup urged beachgoers if they did see any other nesting turtles to contact National Parks on the 24-hour contact number 02 66270200 as soon as possible.

"I would urge those people walking the beach with dogs to keep them away from the turtles, which stress out easily," he said.



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