Hundreds on beach to see turtles nest
Hedland’s flatback turtle season is officially in full swim, with a wave of visitors, residents and volunteers headed out on beach patrol.
Almost 900 people strolled down to Cemetery Beach to view the turtles over the November 17 weekend, according to the Care For Hedland Environmental Association.
“These beach spectator numbers are much higher than what Care For Hedland have recorded in previous years,” said evening program co-ordinator Leah Schwartzentruber.
“Although Care For Hedland had higher spectator numbers, all that were present were still able to witness sea turtles nesting safely, while following the proper viewing code of conduct.”
Ms Schwartzentruber said the turtles were currently in peak nesting, but were in slightly lower recorded numbers than last year.
“For those that missed this daytime nesting occurrence, the next lot of daytime nesting is expected (depending on high tide times) on December 1 and 2,” she said.
More than 100 people also attended three monitoring and conservation training sessions hosted at the beach in late October.
The sessions explained turtle biology, threats, track monitoring, occupational health and safety, turtle nesting stages and examination of previous results from the beach and Pretty Pool Beach.
CFH morning co-ordinator Kelly Benham said the volunteer program represented a costeffective way for the community to be involved in the protection of threatened species and their habitats.
“Not only will this program provide accurate information of monitoring to management agencies, it will also assist in the development of education materials,” she said.
“Brochures, information sheets and stickers that will all assist in raising community awareness about flatback turtles and the threats to it among local community and tourists.
“And for anyone who is still interested in becoming involved, it is not too late. We will train you up on the beach.”
About 111 people are listed on the group’s volunteer register.
A flatback sea turtle at Cemetery Beach viewed by residents.
A spectator films a passing turtle.
A flatback sea turtle leaving its nest.