First known sea turtle nesting of the season on NSW Mid North Coast
An incredibly rare loggerhead turtle came ashore on the NSW Mid North Coast to lay her precious egg cargo, which has now been moved to safety by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service's marine wildlife team.
Long sandy tracks led NSW National Park and Wildlife Service (NPWS) staff and NSW Turtle Watch volunteers to the nest that had been laid in a precarious position in the open last week. It's the first known turtle nesting of the season in New South Wales.
With forecast king tides peaking at 1.95 metres on Friday and above 2.0 metres after Christmas, it looked more likely than not the eggs could be inundated or washed away.
The nest, carrying 139 eggs, was carefully excavated and the eggs were transported to a new nest site that perfectly replicated the original, well outside the king tide mark.
A group of dedicated volunteers and NPWS staff will monitor the site and protect it from predation and accidental disturbance.
If all goes well, the hatchlings should emerge at the end of Summer. In New South Wales, loggerhead turtle eggs typically take 75-90 days to hatch, depending on the temperature of the nest.
Loggerhead turtles are listed as an endangered species in New South Wales and in the last 10 years, only 19 have been recorded nesting on our beaches.
Relocating eggs from a turtle nest is a tricky business and is only done when the original nest location is deemed non-viable or under threat.
Marine turtle nests aren't common and survival of the nest is never guaranteed, so these actions to intervene early will continue to give this nest a fighting chance.
Nesting marine turtles are known to lay more than one clutch each season, so beachgoers should lookout for distinctive tracks and immediately report sightings to NPWS (1300-0-PARKS) or NSW Turtle Watch (0447 877 149).
Quote attributable to Minister for Climate Change and the Environment Penny Sharpe:
"It's wonderful to see endangered loggerhead turtles return to NSW beaches to lay their eggs.
"As an endangered species, every single egg is precious and represents hope for this species.
"The decision to move the nest to save it from forecast king tides demonstrates the commitment of volunteers and staff from the National Parks and Wildlife Service to giving this endangered species the best possible chance of survival."
Photographs available here: Dropbox