Tur­tle vol­un­teers sought

Pilbara News - - News - Tay­lar Amonini

It’s tur­tle sea­son, and Care for Hed­land is invit­ing peo­ple to vol­un­teer and join its two new re­cruits down at lo­cal beaches.

Be­gin­ning on Oc­to­ber 30, the con­ser­va­tion of the lo­cal threat­ened flat­back sea tur­tles will be­gin, with vol­un­teers help­ing sci­en­tific co-or­di­na­tor Bri­ony Nash and even­ing co­or­di­na­tor Skye McPher­son mon­i­tor the threat­ened species.

Peo­ple want­ing to see the tur­tles, how­ever, were be­ing warned not to go by them­selves but to join a tour go­ing down where they could see them with­out dis­turb­ing the an­i­mals Care for Hed­land co-or­di­na­tor Melissa Wood said.

“Torches, flashes and light dis­turb the tur­tles so they won’t come out and lay, or they make them go back into the wa­ter,” she said.

“We don’t want them wast­ing their en­ergy.”

The tur­tle mon­i­tor­ing pro­gram aims not only to bring aware­ness and ed­u­ca­tion on the threat­ened species, but to col­lect data con­cern­ing flat­back tur­tle ac­tiv­ity in the area.

“The tur­tles are en­demic to the area,” Ms Nash, a UK-born marine bi­ol­o­gist said.

“That’s why it’s re­ally im­por­tant to look after them and why we’re run­ning the pro­gram.”

Ms McPher­son, who is trained in nat­u­ral re­source man­age­ment, will be lead­ing the tours to see the tur­tles, while Ms Nash will be tag­ging tur­tles and mon­i­tor­ing their nest­ing pat­terns.

Care for Hed­land is call­ing for mem­bers of the pub­lic to sign up and join as pro­gram vol­un­teers. “We want as many vol­un­teers as we can get,” Ms Wood said.

“If any­one sees us around town they can come and talk to us about it.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on how to vol­un­teer visit the web­site at www.care­forhed­land. org.au or like the group on Face­book at Care For Hed­land Tur­tle Mon­i­tor­ing

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

A tur­tle on the mud flats at Hear­son Cove, near Kar­ratha.

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