128 endangered baby turtles hatch on North Coast beach
A TOTAL of 128 endangered loggerhead turtles have hatched at a nest in the Tyagarah Nature Reserve, and authorities are thrilled.
A member of the public alerted National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to the nest in January.
Usually a loggerhead turtle nest contains between 80 and 100 hatchlings, so NPWS and DPI Fisheries are encouraged by the successful outcome.
NPWS area manager, Sue Walker, said it was important that all nests were monitored as much as possible, and she thanked the community for the vital assistance received earlier this year.
"They go through such a challenging life to be able to breed, so reporting turtle tracks and nests is imperative for keeping records in our wildlife database and it contributes to knowledge supporting the survival of these marine reptiles," Ms Walker said.
The leatherback turtle, green turtle and hawksbill turtle are also found in NSW, but the loggerhead turtles are the most common nesting turtle on the state's beaches and can be identified by having a large head in proportion to the rest of their body.
Marine Park manager, Andrew Page, said DPI Fisheries officers from Cape Byron Marine Park had monitored the turtle nest since January.
Loggerhead turtles face a number of threats including predators such as dogs and foxes destroying the nest as well as ocean surges inundating it and killing the eggs.
"In February NPWS and DPI Fisheries officers successfully relocated a turtle nest at Broken Head that was in danger of destruction due to high tides and trampling," Mr Page said.
Nesting generally occurs from November to February and can be identified by the tracks turtles make as they move up a beach to lay their eggs.
NPWS urges the community to avoid disturbing nesting turtles or nest sites and to report any nesting turtles to the NPWS Byron Bay office on 6620 9300.