Macksville-Scotts Head SLSC support turtle research

Macksville-Scotts Head SLSC President Eric Graham with the team conducting marine turtle research on behalf of Taronga Zoo, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Sydney Institute of Marine Sciences at Scotts Head recently. Photo: supplied.

THE Macksville-Scotts Head Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) have recently provided valuable support to a significant research project aimed at learning more about the lives and wellbeing of our precious marine turtles.

NSW is home to a number of marine turtle species – such as Loggerhead, Hawksbill, Green and Leatherback turtles – however we know little of their movement and habitat use and how long they tend to stay in the same locations.

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All of these species are threatened by boat strike, marine debris entanglements and other environmental issues so a team of dedicated researchers are working hard to learn more about them and how we can better care for them.

A key part of this research is to tag marine turtles with satellite tracking devices.

In order to do so, they must be caught in the wild.

The trackers enable researchers to track turtle movement for approximately six months.

The research being conducted is a multi-agency effort by Taronga Zoo, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Sydney Institute of Marine Sciences.

The team has been working with Surf Life Saving NSW and enlisted the support of the Macksville-Scotts Head SLSC to take them out in their inflatable rubber boats, leveraging off their local knowledge to help locate the turtles.

“If we are able to fit the satellite trackers we can learn such things as how long turtles spend in particular areas and if they are transient or prefer to stay in one place,” Taronga Zoo Wildlife Conservation Officer Dr Phoebe Meagher told News Of The Area.

“Hardly anything is known about turtles in NSW.

“We have been getting much of our data from Queensland Turtles and we are hoping that the research we have been conducting on the Mid North Coast will help us fill these knowledge gaps.”

Members from the Macksville-Scotts Head SLSC were able to drive their boats, provide safety support and act as turtle spotters for the team.

Taronga Zoo Conservation Scientist Dr Jo Day added, “It was great to have the surface support provided by Macksville-Scotts Head Surf Lifesaving Club and it turned out to be a great collaboration and we are very keen to come back to Scotts Head.”


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