Families upset over turtle deaths

By Aleasha Bliss and Maddie Manwaring

A concerned group of Beachmere locals are appalled at the number of dead and injured turtles spotted washing up in recent months. 

In the last six months at least five turtles have washed up on Beachmere foreshore, shocking locals and families who come across them while visiting the beach.

Beachmere parent Madison McBride and her daughter were also recently confronted by the body of a dead turtle on the sand, which upset and scared the young girl.

“I had my daughter who was nearly six with me at the time, and she started tearing up and she actually ran away,” Ms McBride said.

“She ran so fast that I couldn’t even see where she had gone on the beach.”

Beachmere resident Janelle Weston and her two-year-old son were playing on the beach when they found a decapitated turtle, and she was “mortified” at the sight of it.

Ms Weston said it was gruesome and upsetting that young children and families were exposed to this on a regular basis, and a dead turtle was not something she wanted to explain to a toddler.

“It ruins your day, you don’t want to see that,” she said.

“You hope it died of a natural cause, but you know deep down it didn’t.”

The Bribie Island Environmental Protection Association (BIEPA) services the Moreton Bay area, protecting turtle nests, hatchlings, injured turtles and wildlife, and records data on deceased turtles for government use.

BIEPA volunteer turtle carer Diane Oxenford said that a majority of turtles discovered in the Moreton Bay area were killed by boat strikes, fishing equipment, crab pots, ropes and plastics discarded in waterways.

Ms Weston also said fishing equipment and crab pots were causing harm to turtles in the Beachmere area, and that she often came across discarded ropes and litter on the beach.

“We’ve found abandoned crab pots here; you just pick them up and they’re tattered, they’re torn in pieces,” she said.

“They’ve been there for that long, they just leave them to rot.

“The marine life can’t cope with that.”

Beachmere local Gail Schmier discovered an injured turtle in April, which had been cut free from a crab pot rope but left to die from injuries to its neck.

Ms Schmier told the community through a local Facebook page of the importance of contacting relevant organisations when an injured turtle was found, as they needed rehabilitation and care.

“If left, some will perish and we will lose more of our precious wildlife,” she said.

The recent discoveries come after an alarmingly high number of turtles were found stranded at Cape Hillsborough near Mackay.

A stranded turtle is any turtle found ashore or at sea that is injured, sick, incapacitated or dead, and if you come across a stranded turtle it is advised that you contact your local council or animal welfare organisation.

 

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