Hopes slow and steady start will win race for life

THE well known story of the turtle and the hare shows how slow and steady wins the race and for a late cluster of loggerhead turtles at Lady Elliot Island we hope this is the case.

Sunday saw one of the last clutches, for the season, of loggerhead turtles emerge onto the beach just outside the Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort.

Resort activities member Jessica Blackmore said people noticed the turtles in the early morning as they strolled along the beach.

"It was 6.30am on Sunday and a person noticed them - it was very exciting as we thought we had already seen the last clutch emerge," she said.

"It's been a few weeks since we saw the last one."

Miss Blackmore said there were plenty of excited people as it happened as it was just outside the restaurant.

"We didn't even know they were there," she said.

"There were nine in the morning and five in the afternoon.

"And we guess the rest came out through the night."

A Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) spokesperson said hatchlings emerging around this time would be from a clutch laid late in the nesting season, probably two to three months ago.

They said as the year progresses, eggs laid later take longer to incubate. And in this case the incubation period would have been eight to ten weeks, which was quite normal for clutches laid late in the season.

Miss Blackmore said they had 20 marked nests on the island and thought there would have been about 50 nests in total for this turtle season. She said the loggerhead turtles were an endangered species and hoped even though they were a little slow to emerge most would survive.

- EMMA REID


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