Endangered Loggerhead turtle hatchlings released to the wild

After 4 days in the care of volunteers from Australian Seabird Rescue (ASR), the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), with the help of NSW Fisheries, have released 65 rare and endangered Loggerhead turtle hatchlings back into the wild.

Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) hatchlings, capture and release

The loggerhead nest was first discovered by NPWS Rangers just over 3 months ago and they have been monitoring it ever since.

On Monday a concerned member of the public bought six unwell hatchlings in to the Byron NPWS office after discovering them struggling on the beach. NPWS Rangers determined they were from the monitored nest and decided to excavate the remaining hatchlings due to concerns for their survival if they were to be left in the nest any longer.

NPWS Ranger, Keely Markovina, said that it was pretty clear after excavating the nest that the hatchlings were not in great shape after incubating for 91 days.

"They were lethargic, cold and weak. We monitored them to see if they could make their own way into the ocean, but due to their condition and decent swells, the odds were not in their favour that day. We took them in to ASR for care for a few days to see how they'd go before releasing them".

"Given this species is in such trouble, we wanted to make sure we gave them every possible chance of surviving. So very few actually make it to adult breeding age anyway.

"They have had a lot thrown against them this season, including sand accretion, cool temperatures and tidal inundation in the nest.

"Regardless, this has been a big season for Loggerhead Turtle nests. We've recorded seven nests this season in the Byron-Tweed area. That's a lot. We usually get only one or two a season," Ms Markovina said.

A total of 65 turtle hatchlings were transported in a Fisheries boat almost 18 kilometres out to sea to be released by NPWS and ASR.

"Hopefully at least one makes it to maturity and one day comes back to nest in the same area." Ms Markovina said.

NPWS urges the community to report all sightings of turtle tracks, hatchlings and dead/injured turtles to their local NPWS office ASAP so that they can be managed for the conservation of the species.