Early in the new year, a Green Sea Turtle was seen nesting on a Coffs Harbour beach. Green Sea Turtles have been known to nest in NSW over the years, but this nest is one of the most southern locations reported.
Staff from Dolphin Marine Magic worked with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to secure the nest with sandbags, as a large southerly swell and king tides were predicted a week after the nest was laid.
Dr Duan March said the timing of the event made things a little difficult: “Nests can be relocated to safer locations without significant mortality to the hatchlings if they are moved within the first couple of days or after three weeks. Unfortunately, with this nest, the sea was threatening the nest about 10 days into the incubation period, so the foetuses are extremely sensitive to movement and we decided to protect the nest in situ.
The cooler temperatures in NSW will mean that the nest will produce more males than females.
“This nest is going to be interesting. NPWS have a data logger buried to record the temperature and if we are seeing an average temperature of around 27 degrees, it means that the nest will produce mainly males. This is important as there is an increasing trend in Northern Queensland for female-dominated clutches. So nesting in NSW could be really important for these guys in the future,” said Dr March.
Another nesting event was observed two weeks later, in a much safer location.
“This is likely the same animal, as they can lay 5 or 6 clutches in a season, and it looks like she likes this strip of the coast,” said Dr March. If all goes well the hatchlings should emerge around Easter.
Dr Duan March, Veterinarian, Dolphin Marine Magic