MYSTERY: 21 sea turtles in care at Ballina centre
TURTLES are returning to North Coast beaches for nesting season, and it's keeping rescuers busy.
Nesting season starts in November and continues through to March.
It's a time when turtles are at their most vulnerable ‒ they have come to shore to lay their eggs and many factors can affect their survival.
Australian Seabird Rescue, based at Ballina, now has a total of 21 sea turtles in care.
Their latest patient is a green sea turtle that was rescued from Brooms Head.
"It is really interesting, every year in summer we rescue multiple turtles from Brooms Head," ASR wrote on their Facebook page.
"Within this week we have rescued five turtles from Brooms.
"They are mostly the same size and display similar symptoms.
"We guess that these turtles are becoming ill somewhere and that the currents bring them into Brooms Head.
"Would definitely be an interesting study to look at.
"We are seeing many factors affecting our sea turtles from plastic, disease, parasite loads and many unknown conditions.
"Still lots to learn about these beautiful animals."
>>> To help feed Australian Seabird Rescue's 21 hungry turtles, donate via their website.
Northern NSW beaches from Fingal Head to Port Macquarie are increasingly recognised as critical habitat for two threatened marine turtle species, the vulnerable green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the endangered loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta).
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment's Saving our Species Program has teamed up with Australian Seabird Rescue to develop NSW TurtleWatch, a citizen science program involving volunteers to collect valuable data for marine turtles nesting in New South Wales and their potential threats.
People are being encouraged to walk along their local beaches at sunrise.
Walk along the last high ride and keep your eyes peeled for sick turtles, tracks and nests.
To make a report or for more information, phone:
NSW TurtleWatch (any potential nest in NSW): 0468 489 259
Australian Seabird Rescue: 0428 862 852
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (anywhere in NSW): 13000 72757.