The Central Coast is pitching in to protect a rare nest of endangered loggerhead turtle eggs discovered at Shelly Beach at dawn last week.
Two surprised beach walkers found the nest after seeing a turtle crawl into the waves and promptly called WIRES at 5.30 am, triggering alerts to NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), NSW TurtleWatch and Central Coast Council.
Council has built a temporary fence around 15 m2 of the sand dune to protect the site and is calling on the community to help as well.
Its important people remain outside the fenced area and obey the signs to help keep the nest safe as the mother has buried the nest a short distance below the sand surface, in an area popular with beachgoers. People could inadvertently crush eggs or collapse the nest simply by walking over the top.
Predators also pose a risk – such as foxes or dogs digging up the eggs, as well as goannas and birds, all of which are potential egg thieves and nest raiders.
The nest is of great interest to turtle conservationists as it is unusually far south. This southern shift in nesting could be attributed to warmer water temperatures being experienced further south on the east coast of Australia in recent years.
Experts from the three organisations anticipate the nest has between 100 to 150 turtle eggs which, depending on sand temperatures, could hatch in around 8 to 12 weeks’ time.
Sea turtle nesting activity can be reported to NSW TurtleWatch on 0468 489 259 or find out more by emailing email@example.com.