Keep an eye out for sea turtles washed up on beaches

Loggerhead hatchling found at Mandurah
Loggerhead hatchling found at Mandurah Cameron Craigie, Parks and Wildlife

 

It’s the time of year when juvenile sea turtles can lose their battle with the currents and become stranded on metropolitan and south-west beaches.

Beachgoers are asked to keep an eye out for stranded sea turtles, particularly following a storm front.

Parks and Wildlife regional wildlife officer Cam Craigie said anyone finding a turtle washed up on a beach should immediately call the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055.

“These turtles are often very small loggerhead hatchlings, about 10cm in length, which have hatched in WA’s north and been brought south on the strong Leeuwin current,” Mr Craigie said.

“Even though sea turtles breathe oxygen and hatch on land, a turtle on a beach south of Denham is usually a sign that it is in distress.”

Mr Craigie said the cold water temperatures of the southern winter oceans affect sea turtles’ metabolic rates.

“Lethargy sets in as the temperatures drop and ‘cold water stunning’ can leave the animals susceptible to bacteria and parasitic infections.

“Winter storms can lead to turtles being pushed ashore and becoming caught in seaweed or discarded rubbish.

“If you find a stranded turtle please do not attempt to care for it yourself – contact the Wildcare Helpline.

“Parks and Wildlife is also interested in hearing about dead turtles that that may have washed up as these can also provide valuable information to researchers.”

Mr Craigie said rescued sea turtles were assessed by vets before being placed in rehabilitation centres including the Aquarium of Western Australia, Dolphin Discovery Centre at Bunbury, Naragebup Rockingham Regional Environment Centre, Chelonia at Broome and Ocean Park at Denham.

There are six species of marine turtles found in WA waters and all are protected under the State’s Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

For more information about sea turtles in WA visit https://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/management/marine

Report sick, injured or stranded native animals to the 24-hour Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055.

 

Media contact: Parks and Wildlife Media 9219 9999

Facebook: www.facebook.com/dpawwa

Twitter: @WAPARKSWILDLIFE

 

Last modified on Thursday, 07 August 2014 15:29