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Whitsunday Escape staff and families assist in turtle rescue operation

By on February 6th, 2015

One of Whitsunday Escape’s staff members was walking her kids to school this week, when they made a remarkable discovery – a baby turtle flapping and stuck in the swimming net on Cannonvale Beach.

Whitsunday Escape staff with baby turtles in Airlie BeachUpon further investigation,  they discovered about 50 hatchlings caught in the net.

They quickly called Eco Barge Clean Seas who run the local Whitsunday Turtle Rescue Centre, and founder Libby Edge came to the rescue.

In the end, the group of parents and kids saved over 60 baby turtles.

Turtles hatch at night, lured by the pull of the full moon. They make their way safely across the cooler night time sands and head towards the light over the ocean. In this instance, the moon had risen over the headland of Airlie Beach, and the turtles had marched diagonally sideways along the beach, getting trapped in the swimming net along the way.

Thankfully our local staff found them and were able to rescue most of the brood.

Bucket of baby turtles rescued in Airlie Beach by Whitsunday Escape staff and familiesThe turtles were taken back to the Whitsunday Turtle Rescue Centre where they were placed in a dark place for a couple of hours. They were then released at Funnel Bay during the top of the tide later that day.

The turtles would have run down the beach at Funnel Bay where they would have imprinted – which means they will return to that beach in around 30-60 years to lay their own eggs. Turtle survival rates are very low, and it is estimated that only 1 in 1000 turtles makes it to maturity and lays their own eggs.

Rescues like this are so important to ensure the survival of the species. When they lay eggs in built-up areas, and are then hampered by the same built-up areas when trying to make it back to the ocean, our assistance is vital in ensuring the natural cycle of life can continue.

In a delightful twist, it was the very same staff member who on December 14, witnessed a female green turtle laying her eggs on Cannonvale Beach.

All the children agreed that this was the most exciting thing to ever happen to them before school and that they would cherish the memories for the rest of their lives.

More on turtles in the Whitsundays