Questions over turtle wash-ups
TURTLES have been found washed up on Dundowran beach at least four times this year and Fraser Coast councillor Sue Brooks is concerned.
The latest turtle to be spotted on the shore is believed to have died over the weekend and been removed on Monday.
Ms Brooks said the turtle was about a metre in length from the tip of its head to the end of its shell.
“It’s sad to see turtles that size being found dead,” she said yesterday.
It did not look like the turtle had anything obviously wrong with it, such as a boat strike, Ms Brooks said before adding: “There are always questions as to what causes the death; is it natural or because of humans?”
“It would be nice to know if it’s because of the inhaling of plastics.
“The main issue is plastic ingestion as turtles think plastic bags are jelly fish, which they would normally eat.”
The Department of Environment and Resource Management has a hotline for people to report wildlife emergencies, pollution incidents and marine strandings, Ms Brooks says.
She is encouraging anybody who sees a marine creature, such as turtles and dugongs, struggling on Fraser Coast beaches to call 1300 130 372.
Ms Brooks assumed local DERM staff had removed the dead turtle from the beach, however the department yesterday said it was working with police at the fatal 4WD accident on Fraser Island when it received a report of a dead turtle on Dundowran Beach on Sunday.
Hervey Bay DERM staff investigated reports of a stranded turtle on Dundowran Beach on several occasions last week but found no turtles.
The department website says the government’s StrandNet database records information on where injured, dying and dead whales, dolphins, seals, dugongs and turtles have been found in Queensland. It then assesses the cause of the injuries or death to be used in annual reports.
DERM advises anybody who finds a sick or dead turtle, dugong, dolphin or whale to call the stranding hotline.
“QPWS or the local council usually arrange for the animal’s rehabilitation or disposal of the carcass,” the website says.