Epic journey: The hawksbill turtle found on a Brooms Head beach.
Epic journey: The hawksbill turtle found on a Brooms Head beach.

Turtle's big swim from Vanuatu

A SMALL tag on a female hawksbill turtle found washed ashore on the beach near Lake Arragan, north of Brooms Head, two weeks ago revealed she had been nesting on a beach in Vanuatu less than a year ago.

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Clarence Coast manager Andrew Lugg said the mature turtle, listed as a threatened species in New South Wales, had been tagged by researchers at Bamboo Bay Village on Malekula Island in Vanuatu in early December 2009.

He said the turtle appeared exhausted when it was found and a Greencorp team took it to the Pet Porpoise Pool at Coffs Harbour.

“Unfortunately the animal died that evening and a necropsy revealed a large haemorrhage around her heart,” Mr Lugg said.

“The turtle was also tagged, which enabled us to report the discovery and the unfortunate demise of the turtle to the Samoan-based researchers.

“They were quickly able to establish when and where the turtle had been tagged as well as how far it had travelled since then.

“This highlights the importance for people to report turtles and record and report any tagged animals they may find.

“Hawksbill turtles are one of five species of turtles recorded in NSW.

“Threats to turtles’ survival include over-fishing, habitat damage and loss, predation of eggs and hatchlings by foxes, pigs, dogs and other predators, pollution and litter.

“Many marine turtles feed on jellyfish and our discarded plastic bags, which can resemble jellyfish, are responsible for many turtle deaths.”


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