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Tracking Our Enigmatic Ancient Mariners

Updated: Feb 27, 2023

Between November and April, they come and go in the dark of night on our South East Queensland beaches. Quietly and without fuss, they lay their precious clutches of eggs. After a couple of months incubating in the dunes, baby hatchlings silently emerge from their nests to scurry across a dark sandy beach towards the glow of the ocean and their destiny in a new marine home.

Hatchlings heading for the sea (photo: Diane Oxenford)
A clutch of Bribie's Loggerhead hatchlings heads for the sea (photo: Diane Oxenford)

Very few people encounter the magical nocturnal adventures into our terrestrial world by these unassuming ancient mariners. South East Queensland’s loggerhead turtles are included in the South Pacific subpopulation which is listed on the IUCN Redlist as Critically Endangered, with their population on the decrease. To ensure their survival as a species, scientists and volunteer citizen scientists are collaborating to record:

  • where and when these loggerheads travel during the breeding season;

  • where they choose to lay their eggs and why; and

  • where they typically forage and live in the marine environment in the long term.

Ultimately, this will help protect them and their marine and terrestrial habitat to prevent extinction. Many Bribie Islanders are astonished when they discover we have turtles nesting and hatching in our eastern dunes and that BIEPA and the Bribie Island Turtle Trackers have been contributing to this long-term research for almost two decades.

During the 2022/2023 nesting season Sunshine Coast Council is tracking two female Loggerhead turtles, Bullumby (133768) and First Lady (236574), which have just completed their arduous breeding season.

(25/2/2023) While Bullumby is currently on a heading that may take her home to somewhere in the Coral Sea, to the Solomon Islands or elsewhere further afield, so far First Lady is proving more of a home-body, seeming to take up residence on a reef off the southern tip off Moreton Island. Interesting for Bribie Islanders, after leaving the beach with her new satellite tag onboard, you can see by the tracking data that First Lady spent her inter-nest period developing her next clutch of eggs while milling around just off Bribie Island's unique ICOLLs (Intermittently Closed and Open Lagoons) before laying her next clutch. We invite you to learn more about by join their ocean tour, as they return to their preferred foraging areas and marine homes.

First Lady may turn out to be be a Moreton Bay local (photo: SCC)

First Lady spent her critical inter-nest egg generating period in the same waters as these jet-skiers off Bribie Island.
As tracking data shows, First Lady spent her critical inter-nest (egg generating) period in these exact waters of the off Bribie Island National Park. (photo by Darren Jew 11/12/2022)

Learn more about global concern for the status of our Critically Endangered South Pacific subpopulation of Loggerhead Turtles at the IUCN Redlist Website.

Read more in the Sunshine Coast Council News Center.

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Unknown member
Feb 26, 2023

Re speak out on Road Carnage,

How often have we ,I and a couple of my friends, written on this subject t0 Minister of Environment (Queensland), Moreton Bay Council-through Brooke Savige -our representative-,and Ali King our representative in Brisbane.!!!!!The only positive reply we receive is from Brooke Savige,while Ali King 's office acknowledge receipt of e-mails but NEVER replies to the issues raised.Same with Minister of Environment .It is the money that counts, received by the State ,by allowing 4 WD vehicles on the beach and even refuses to accept our petition signed by 2000 people living on Bribie and about 25000 people signing -in through the internet action..But WE WILL CONTINUEto speak out the fact that Bribie is …


Unknown member
Feb 26, 2023

Great story on this program - thankyou!

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