Turtle hatchlings emerge on Cooloola Coast beaches

Issued: 5 Mar 2021

Visitors to Cooloola Coast beaches are being urged to watch out for turtle hatchlings after local residents were forced to flag down 4WDs to stop them running down hatchlings emerging from nests this week.

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) is warning 4WD enthusiasts they face hefty on-the-spot fines if they disturb turtle hatchlings or turtle nests or damage vegetated dunes by driving on them.

DES is aware of at least 20 nests on Teewah Beach, and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) is monitoring the beach in conjunction with the Noosa Shire Council and Cooloola Coastcare volunteers.

On Wednesday (3 March 2021), a nest emerged at Double Island Point at Teewah, which is a popular beach for 4WD enthusiasts.

Local residents flagged down and stopped a 4WD as the hatchlings scurried to the ocean across the exposed beach.

Motorists should drive slowly when driving on Teewah Beach, travel at low tide when safe to do so and always look out for turtle hatchlings .

Visitors to the Cooloola Coast should also be extremely careful when driving on the beach at night, as this is when hatchlings are most likely to be emerging.

If turtle hatchlings are making their way across the beach, motorists should stop and wait for the hatchlings to reach the ocean, before continuing on their journey.

Visitors are also asked to minimise their impacts on Cooloola Coast beaches while marine turtles are hatching.

Cooloola Coastcare volunteers monitored a nest at Double Island Point (Teewah Side) at 6am on Wednesday and counted 141 hatchlings that made their way to the ocean.

Driving over vegetated dunes is dangerous and prohibited. It is damaging to the environment and can impact turtle nests.

Marine turtles are protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. The maximum penalty for illegally killing, injuring or taking a marine turtle is $133,000.

Anyone who notices hatchlings emerging from a nest, should call Cooloola Coastcare volunteers.

View the video on the Queensland Environment Twitter page.