World Turtle News, 1/2/2019
Mon Repos trial aims to boost turtle hatchling survival rates, combat heatwaves with ‘artificial rain’
They are more commonly associated with parks and lawns, but sprinklers are now also lining a beach in south-east Queensland in a world-first trial to keep turtle nests cool and reduce heat-related deaths of the animals.
Rather than keeping grass green and lush, the “artificial rain” created by sprinklers at the renowned turtle rookery Mon Repos, near Bundaberg, has the job of lowering the sand temperature.
Mon Repos is the most important breeding site in the South Pacific for the endangered loggerhead turtle, and has the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on eastern Australia’s mainland.
Every year, from November to March, marine turtles nest and hatch on Mon Repos’ beaches.
But in the past two seasons, heatwaves have elevated sand temperatures above 29 degrees Celsius — the ideal temperature for baby turtles to hatch from eggs buried in the sand.
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Photo from ABC Wide Bay: Nicole Hegarty.