Threatened turtle warning

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

The lights surrounding Cemetery Beach in Port Hedland will be doused on October 30 to signal the start of the highly anticipated turtle season.

Excitement has been rippling through the coastal town as flatback turtle sightings begin offshore.

Care for Hedland Environmental Association co-ordinator Jo Smith said the sightings were a sign of a big season ahead.

“There’s been a lot of sightings of turtles mating around, which is a good indicator for them to come to shore and nest,” she said.

“It’s exciting, but locals need to remember to give them space. Leave it alone, let it do its thing and if it’s on the way up to nest, do not disturb it.”

Ms Smith said if residents saw turtles around before the season began, it was important to leave them alone, otherwise they risked disturbing future Hedland populations.

“If they don’t nest here and release their hatchlings, it will decrease future numbers coming to the beach because they lay their eggs where they were hatched from,” she said.

“If turtles stop, we eventually won’t see them again in Port Hedland and they are a very important part of the marine environment.”

The threatened species has been a staple of the Port Hedland landscape, as well as a booming tourism industry for the regional town.

To get involved and volunteer to help Care for Hedland monitor the flatback turtles, visit careforhedland.org.au or visit its Facebook page.

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