Rangers and researchers work for green turtles secured with corporate funding
Published Thursday, 21 May, 2015 at 10:10 AM
Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
The Honourable Steven Miles
A massive green turtle rescue effort spearheaded by the Queensland Government has secured vital funding thanks to corporate sponsor BHP Billiton.
The Raine Island Green Turtle Recovery Project was developed jointly by researchers from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and marine park rangers from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.
Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles said erosion and tidal inundations had threatened to destroy Raine Island, a remote but vital breeding ground for the green turtle.
“In spite of the difficulties caused by such a remote location a bold rescue effort was hatched which involved reshaping the beach in a bid to save one of the largest green turtle breeding grounds in the world,” Dr Miles said.
“Raine Island is at the northern tip of the Great Barrier Reef and the challenges could not be greater for the rangers and researchers but their early efforts have clearly shown promising results and paved the way for the next stage of the project.
“Now, thanks to BHP Billiton and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the future of the Raine Island Recovery Project has been secured for the next five years.”
Dr Miles said a pilot project in the most recent nesting season had involved reshaping a small section of beach to make it more turtle-friendly and ensure nesting can occur without being inundated by water.
“Fencing erected along the island’s internal cliff edge has stopped turtles falling and becoming trapped on their backs and resulted in adult turtle mortality being reduced by over 50 per cent,” Dr Miles said.
“Meanwhile the reprofiling of the sand in the trial area led directly to a big increase in hatchling success – from just 36 per cent over the previous three years to 56 per cent. And the number of clutches destroyed in the nest by water inundation was reduced from 43 per cent down to 28 percent.
“After such a promising start everyone involved in this vital project is looking forward to even greater success thanks to BHP Billiton’s generous support of $5.4 million over five years.”
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