Rare turtle sighting off Mackay the first ever recorded
A RARE endangered turtle has been seen nesting on an island off Mackay.
Reef Catchments contractors and volunteers from Mackay and District Turtle Watch and Birdlife Mackay came across the animal on Cockermouth Island National Park during a recent monitoring trip.
A Reef Catchments spokesman said loggerhead turtles did not normally nest so far north.
Information from the Department of Environment said the species normally nested in the Southern Great Barrier Reef on islands off the coast of Bundaberg and Gladstone.
"There has only been one other reported sighting of a nesting loggerhead turtle in the region," the Reef Catchments spokesman said.
Despite not normally nesting in the region, loggerhead turtles have been seen by swimmers.
Australia's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act lists the species as endangered.
This classification means the loggerhead turtle could become extinct if threats to the species continued.
During the monitoring trip, Reef Catchments contractors found green, flatback and loggerhead turtles all nesting on Cockermouth Island.
"There are no records in our region of this happening previously, making it a very unusual sighting," the Reef Catchments spokesman said.
Turtle monitoring on the islands off Mackay is supported by Reef Catchments through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.