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Green Sea Turtle Mortality

Gnaraloo Cape Farquhar Survey #2

Careena and I (Justine) recently returned from the second reconnaissance survey at Cape Farquhar. Last year the Cape Farquhar surveys were done exactly 1 month apart with the survey at the end of January found to have 111 old nesting activities. As this is quite a significant amount of nesting activities it was decided to repeat the survey after 2 weeks this monitoring season, as some activities may have been degraded over the 4 week period, giving an overall better picture of the peak during the nesting season.

6 meter swells and thunderstorms couldn’t deter us from heading out each morning to survey. We found a total of 83 nesting activities over the 4 day trip, 70 of these were old activities, and 14 out of these 70 were old nests. The remaining 13 activities found were new, 8 of these were new nests.

Compared to Gnaraloo Bay Rookery, there were 19 activities over the 3 days of survey during the Cape Farquhar trip, 4 of these were nests. There were 4 more nests found at Cape Farquhar than in Gnaraloo Bay during the survey period, with a difference of 6 activities between the two study sites.

During the first Day Survey we came across 3 mortalities in the area where majority of nesting activities are observed, 2 of these were green turtles, one an adult male one a sub-adult and the other turtle a sub-adult hawksbill.

One evening we came across an adult female green turtle, she was very close to shore in a bank of seaweed, we thought she was struggling and may have been close to passing away. So we walked out in waist high water to check on her, gave her a pat on the back and she responded swiftly, it appeared she was just resting, thankfully.

During the trip we spotted quite an array of wildlife, an adult green mud crab (Scylla serrata), 2 species of box fish (Ostracion cubicus, Ostracion meleagris), an eagle ray (Aetomylaeus) and numerous green and loggerhead turtles of varying sizes along the coast during the morning walks.

We tried a spot of fishing out of the sanctuary zone, unsuccessfully until Feral, the station mechanic came up with all the right gear and helped us out. Careena caught a dart (Trachinotus botla) and I caught 4 spangled emperors (Lethrinus nebulosus), 2 were size that we ate for lunch!


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