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Turtle Nesting and Hatchlings

Situated in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Protected Zone, Wilson Island is an important habitat for many species. A variety of wildlife visit the coral cay at different times of the year, depending on breeding, foraging and migratory movements.

During your stay at Wilson Island you may have the unforgettable experience of seeing turtles nesting on the beaches or hatchlings erupting from their nests in the sand.

Turtle Watching Guidelines

Wilson Island is a significant nesting location for two threatened sea turtle species, the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta). Nesting season occurs from November to march each year, with hatchlings beginning to emerge in early January. Most nesting turtles will begin to come up on the beaches around the high tide at night time, some turtles may still be on the beaches finishing the nesting process when the sun rises in the morning.

To minimise disturbance to these magnificent marine reptiles, there are strict guidelines in place for the viewing of nesting and hatching turtles. Please remember to follow these guidelines when you are on the beaches of Wilson Island.

• No lights on the beach

• No flash photography

• Remain still and low

• pass or view her from behind

• Remain 10 meters away from the turtle

Turtle Hatching Season

Turtle hatchlings will emerge from the sand from January until May. It is important that they are allowed to make their own way to the water without assistance or hindrance. The hatchlings will be imprinting on the environment so they know to return to these beaches as mature adults. It is also important that the hatchlings have the opportunity to warm up their flippers in preparation for their big ocean journey.

Artificial lights from torches or rooms will disorientate the hatchlings. At Wilson Island we use turtle safe lighting where ever possible. You can also assist during your stay by:

• Turning off unnecessary lights

• Closing tent flaps at night while lights are on

• Not using torches or flash photography

Under no circumstances are the hatchlings to be handled and never dig the hatchlings out of their nest.

The best chance of seeing the hatchlings making their way to the ocean is to take a walk along the beach, at the high tide mark, around sunset or sunrise. Please do not walk through the high dunes and vegetation line as you may accidentally trample nests and hatchlings that are soon to surface.

Photo Credit: Tourism Events Queensland

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