Bikes a threat to turtles

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph
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Port Hedland’s flatback turtle hatchlings are under threat because of increased quad-bike action.

Port Hedland beaches are home to the endangered flatback turtles, which nest every year on Cemetery Beach and Pretty Pool Beach, and has become a popular tourist location to see hatchlings begin their life at sea.

In recent weeks, the Town of Port Hedland’s Ranger Services staff have noticed increased quad-bike action in these protected areas.

These quad bikes have resulted in severe damage to turtle nests and dune protection fencing.

Town of Port Hedland Mayor Camilo Blanco said he was disappointed to see the damage the bikes were causing.

“Our officers are working with police in identifying ways of dealing with irresponsible quad-bike riders, including potential confiscation of vehicles,” he said.

Care for Hedland co-ordinator Melissa Wood said even when physical damage was not done to the eggs and nests themselves, the vehicles driving on Pretty Pool Beach during nesting season could still disrupt the nesting phases.

“The lights and noise of vehicles on the beach can distress or disorientate female adult turtles which are ascending the beach to lay eggs, and they may return to the ocean without nesting,” she said.

The Town of Port Hedland encourages community members who see dangerous and reckless quad-bike users to take a photo if possible and report it to the police or Ranger Services on 9158 9741.

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