Campers to make way for magnificent wildlife
19 January 2018
Two world-class National Park islands off Gladstone will be off limits to campers in a bid to maximise the survival of turtle hatchlings and seabird chicks.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Principal Ranger Dave Orgill said the campgrounds at Lady Musgrave and North West Islands, part of the Capricornia Cays National Park off the Central Queensland coast, would be closed between 29 January and 29 March, inclusive.
“The annual camping closures reduce disturbance and minimise human impacts on this important breeding ground for endangered marine turtles and thousands of nesting seabirds,” Mr Orgill said.
“The camping closure will also allow time for the islands’ vegetation, which has limited occurrence outside of the Capricornia Cays National Park and is particularly susceptible to disturbances, to recuperate.”
Mr Orgill said the annual closure helped turtles and seabirds—such as black noddies, wedge-tailed shearwaters, roseate terns, black-naped terns and bridled terns—breed with minimal disturbance at these significant breeding rookeries.
“Around three quarters of seabird biomass found in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is concentrated in the Capricornia Cays,” Mr Orgill said.
“While Lady Musgrave and North West Islands are a no go zone for campers for this short period, we encourage locals and holidaymakers to make plans to revisit on Good Friday (30 March) when the sites reopen to camping.”
Mr Orgill said the closure period was also a reminder to boaties to keep a good lookout and slow down for turtles.
"These large reptiles, especially the green turtles, are known to bask at the water’s surface and are sometimes slow to react to approaching vessels," Mr Orgill said.
“We ask boaties to do the right thing and reduce their speed in estuaries, sandy straits and shallow inshore areas. Remember to ‘go slow for those below’.”
Sightings of sick, injured or dead marine turtles can be reported by phoning 1300 264 625 (1300 ANIMAL).