Free reef snapshot forum
MINKE whale expert John Rumney and turtle doctor Jennie Gilbert will provide a snapshot of the reef at an open forum next week.
The recent whale migration has been one of the best Eye to Eye Marine Encounters’ Mr Rumney has ever seen pass through the Douglas region.
“Who knows why they come here but with the water a couple degrees colder than previous years it may have had an impact and we all had a very good season,” he said.
“We are definitely a whale experience with a bit of diving, we saw between 42-80 whales every trip so it was a very good year.
“I am going to talk about the different projects like our research tourism program and also about working with the BBC for their next documentary on the amazing experiences on the Great Barrier Reef.”
Jennie Gilbert, a vet who specialises in turtles and set up the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre in 2000, has been observing an increasing numbers of patients.
“It started with Cyclone Larry, destroying the seagrass (turtles’ food source) and then we had a really wet dry season, then the floods in Brisbane and then Yasi,” she explained.
“Due to the decimation of the seagrass we are seeing an enormous spike in turtles, we have 15 turtles at the centre when we had six last year.
“Experts say seagrass beds will take a couple of years to recover fully and that’s if we don’t have any disastrous environmental conditions this year.”
Jennie said that turtles from the Douglas region come to the rehabilitation centre either starving or suffering from floaters syndrome.
Reef Snapshots is being presented free by the Low Isles Preservation Society at the Port Douglas Community Hall next Tuesday from 7pm and will give the public a chance to find out more information and also ask questions.
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