Tiny turtles turn up near Evans Head

Furious flipper action has been seen on a remote beach near Evans Head as tiny sea turtle hatchlings emerged from their buried nest and made a break for the ocean.

Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) hatchling, Evans Head

Andy Marshall from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) said more than 100 Green Turtles hatched last week and their first moments were caught on camera by a local photographer coincidently walking the beach.

“These eggs have been incubating underneath the sand since around December and the hatchlings all emerged over a few hours in the early dawn,” said Mr Marshall.

“NPWS and NSW TurtleWatch are keeping a keen eye on around 7 more sea turtle nests along the coast as they should also hatch over the next few months.

“Along the NSW coast we expect the hatchlings will either be green turtles (Chelonia mydas) like the ones we saw at Evans Head or the endangered loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), both are generally around 5cm in length when born.

“If anyone sees a hatchling please don’t pick it up or interfere with its path to the sea, instead report it immediately to NPWS or NSW TurtleWatch so we make sure these little ones make it safely to the water,” Mr Marshall said.

Holly West from NSW TurtleWatch says early reports and information from the public is vital in being about to monitor these hatchlings.

“With such a large coastline to cover it is likely that we could have missed some nests being laid and may miss them hatching so public help at this time is vital,” said Ms West.

“Hatchlings should emerge at night as they are safer from predators and the heat of the sand but there are of course always stragglers, so we are asking people to keep their eyes peeled, especially close to sunset and sunrise.

“As well as reporting all sightings, you can help these baby turtles by removing your rubbish from the beaches, drive slowly along the beaches, and stay off the dunes,” Ms West said.

If you find a sea turtle hatchling along the beach please notify NSW TurtleWatch immediately on 0468 489 259, or contact NPWS on 1300 0PARKS.

NSW TurtleWatch has been developed by Australian Seabird Rescue, in partnership with NSW Government’s Saving Our Species program. Visit Saving Our Species

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