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Byron Shire
August 5, 2021

Turtle tracks spotted on Clarkes Beach

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Photo supplied: Rob Asquith.

Tracks belonging to an egg-laden female turtle have been spotted on Clarkes Beach.

Local resident Rob Asquith, who snapped a picture of the tracks at around 6:30am on Monday morning, said they were only about 50 metres from the Beach Café.

‘I just hope she found somewhere to lay her eggs,’ Mr Asquith said. ‘It’s unusual that we see them in the Bay.’

Holly West, a project officer with NSW TurtleWatch, said the tracks belonged to a green turtle and were consistent with a mother trying to find a nesting place.

Photo supplied: Rob Asquith.

‘They come out, try and find a spot to nest and can’t… She’s hit the sandbags and come back in.’

Ms West said the turtle would soon try again to visit a beach and lay, and members of the public should keep their eyes open.

Anyone who sees turtle activity or turtle tracks should report the sighting to NSW TurtleWatch, which is a project of the NSW Government and Australian Seabird Rescue.

Climate change means more turtles down south

Laying turtles usually return to the beach that they hatched on, or nearby, according to Ms West.

‘They have a really good inbuilt GPS,’ she said.

But sand temperature determines the gender of the hatchlings, with warmer beaches in Queensland producing females and cooler sands further down the coast producing males. That means female turtles rarely come to lay in Byron and surrounds.

‘We’re not producing females on NSW beaches, so the turtles coming here are kind of outliers,’ Ms West said.

However, rising average temperatures due to climate change mean that the sands of northern NSW could be producing more females in years ahead.

‘These nests in NSW could be one way that females cope with climate change in the future,’ Ms West said.

Contact NSW TurtleWatch / Australian Seabird Rescue: [email protected], http://seabirdrescue.org.au/, 02 6686 2852.

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  1. The Tracks are suspicious. Look at the shape of the tracks. About 10 metres from the sand bags the tracks diverge in the ropposite direction to the 360 degree turn.
    So the turtle know she was going to turn 10 metres before she got to the sand bags. So why did she continue forward but just turn 10 metres from the bags?
    What I am describing is human thought. Are you sure the tracks wee not made by humans?

  2. Hit the sandbags and turned around and went back into the sea – The sandbags are a threatening process that stops the beach retreating with sand for nesting. With a projected 4.5 degree temperature rise associated with a 9 metre sea level rise that would take the coastline aprox 1 km inland, planned retreat is the only sensible option that will relegate development inland while still providing habitat for turtles and a swimable beach


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