Tourists Turtle-y mad for Mon Repos

25 Mar 2014 4:45 PMJann Stuckey

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mon Repos Conservation Park has hosted its second busiest tourist season in the past decade with more than 28,000 visitors witnessing one of nature’s most fascinating spectacles—the annual pilgrimage of sea turtles.

During the season 370 loggerheads, 3 greens and 12 flatbacks nested up to five times each on Mon Repos and adjacent beaches.

The tours finished on the weekend, with visitors witnessing three clutches of loggerhead hatchlings make their way to the sea.

National Parks Minister Steve Dickson said the tours were a major drawcard for the region, and helped deliver the Newman Government’s promise to grow tourism.

“Our rangers, researchers and volunteers are great Queensland ambassadors, having introduced 28,483 people this season to a unique Queensland experience.”

Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey said the Mon Repos turtles were a memorable experience for Queenslanders and internationals alike.

“People have come from as far as Germany, Taiwan, Greece, Switzerland, Netherlands and the Czech Republic to witness these amazing creatures pop out of their nests and take the first brave steps,” Ms Stuckey said.

“The collaborative promotional efforts of Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism and Tourism and Events Queensland played an important role in showing tourists that there is no better place in Australia to experience this remarkable natural encounter than in Bundaberg.”

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Ranger in Charge Cathy Gatley said it had also been a bumper season for the turtles.

“We have seen a good rate of hatching, as we’ve been blessed with good weather and not too many extreme tides so far, unlike last year when despite best efforts we lost 59 per cent of the nests,” she said.

“Staff and volunteers rescued 700 clutches of eggs, moving them to higher ground to protect them from the very high tides in January-February. So far this summer we have lost less than 20 per cent of clutches to storm erosion,” she said.

Mr Dickson said a new predator-control program jointly funded by Queensland and Commonwealth governments would also assist marine turtles further north along the coast.

“A total of $7 million has been committed for the next four years to wage a war on pigs that eat turtle eggs and hatchlings and destroy turtle nesting areas in northern Queensland,” Mr Dickson said.

Hatchlings will continue to emerge for a few more weeks, and nesting begins in late October. Tours begin in early November. Details available at ( )

[ENDS] 25 March 2014