Stranded turtle being cared for by JCU vet staff
Thanks for supporting sea turtle conservation on the Great Barrier Reef! I'd like to start the year off by letting you know what we accomplished in 2012, and what we're planning for 2013.
2012 was a busy year for us, with over 100 green sea turtles tagged and sampled in the north Queensland region. Preliminary data from the research completed in 2012 shows that the disease called fibropapillomatosis (say that three times fast!) is still an issue for turtles in the region, particularly in Edgecumbe Bay. On a more positive note, the number of stranded turtles was down from 2011 levels, and most of the turtles we encountered during research had at least a moderate body condition--this means we saw fewer starving animals than in the previous year. This can be attributed to both a recovery of some seagrass beds, and a behavioural change in the animals to forage for other food sources, such as algae and mangrove leaves.
This year, we will continue to monitor sea turtles in our area, in partnership with the state Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP), James Cook University researchers, and our community volunteers. We also hope to begin processing the samples we have collected so far, which we will be able to do thanks to all our supporters who have donated through this project. In addition to the field research, we will continue to respond to stranding calls to attend sick, injured or dead turtles; we responded to two calls so far this year. We also were able to assist with two flatback turtle nests laid on the Strand (a popular public beach in Townsville), and we'll be organising volunteers to monitor the hatchlings to make sure they make it safely to the water in the next few weeks.
Once again, thank you so much for your support. We look forward to a busy year of research, education and action campaigns, to ensure that we all will have Turtles for Tomorrow!
Flatback turtle nesting (pic by Claire Bisseling)