KEEPING WATCH: The NSW TurtleWatch program will be hosting a free community information session on December 21. Photo: Scott Powick.
KEEPING WATCH: The NSW TurtleWatch program will be hosting a free community information session on December 21. Photo: Scott Powick.

Sea turtles need our help

BECOME a citizen scientist and learn how to identify sea turtle nests on Tweed beaches through a free program run by council and NSW TurtleWatch.

Volunteers will be trained to gather information which will contribute to understanding how to help protect these threatened species in Northern NSW.

A Tweed Shire Council spokeswoman said what people noticed on their local beach walk could be a vital piece in the puzzle to better understand how sea turtles use NSW beaches for laying their eggs.

“The NSW TurtleWatch program has been developed by Australian Seabird Rescue to train volunteers to monitor beaches for nesting sea turtles,” she said.

“Also to identify sea turtle tracks and record potential threats such as plastic, light pollution and beach erosion.

“The project will improve understanding about sea turtle nesting in NSW and raise awareness of how to minimise the threats they face.”

She said Loggerhead and Green turtles were both threatened species and have been found to use NSW beaches for nesting.

“Sea turtle nesting in NSW is not common so it is important to have as many people looking for them as possible.

“Successful turtle nests have been found in NSW from the Queensland border all the way to Forster Tuncurry.

“Tweed and Byron areas have had the highest number and density of nests over the last 20 years.

“NSW offers turtle nesting beaches with cooler sand temperatures and minimal disturbance from urban development.

“The temperature of a nest can influence the gender of hatchlings and the hatch success.

“With increasing global temperatures, sea turtle populations may become female biased, so the cooler sand temperatures found in NSW could return some male hatchlings into the population.”

This project is in partnership with the NSW Government’s Saving Our Species program.

To find out more about the program visit environment.nsw.gov.au/sos

For more information about the TurtleWatch program, visit seabirdrescue.org.au or facebook.com/turtlenestprogram.

To learn more about the NSW TurtleWatch program, there will be hosting a free community information session.

When: Saturday 21 December, 10am to 12pm

Where: Kingscliff Community Hall, 81 Marine Pde, Kingscliff.



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