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As wildlife moves in, campers move out

6 October 2015

Sea turtles and seabirds can nest in peace as the annual summer closure of Mast Head and Erskine islands in Capricornia Cays National Park off Gladstone begins on 15 October 2015.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) Southern Great Barrier Reef Principal Ranger Dave Orgill said that the islands would be out-of-bounds to campers and day-trippers until Easter 2016.

"Two other islands in that group – Lady Musgrave and North West – will be open until late January, then they will also close until Easter," Mr Orgill said.

"The closures reduce disturbance and minimise human impacts on this important breeding ground for endangered marine turtles and thousands of nesting seabirds such as wedge-tailed shearwaters, black noddies and bridled terns.

"It’s part of the management plan for these internationally significant islands."

Mr Orgill said 75 percent of all seabirds found on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area were concentrated in the Capricorn-Bunker Group.

"These cays are incredibly important for nature conservation – we need to protect them from the impact of humans at the most crucial breeding times.

"The closure period is also a reminder to boaties to keep a good lookout and slow down for turtles.

"These huge reptiles, especially the green turtles, are known to bask at the water’s surface and are sometimes slow to react to approaching vessels," he said.

Sightings of sick, injured or dead marine turtles can be reported by phoning 1300 264 625 (1300 ANIMAL).

Black noddies. Photo: A. McDougall, QPWS.

Black noddies. Photo: A. McDougall, QPWS.
This photo and more black noddy photos at https://environment.ehp.qld.gov.au/species-search/details/?id=18153

Bridled tern. Photo: Ian Gynther, EHP.

Bridled tern. Photo: Ian Gynther, EHP.
This photo and more bridled tern photos are at https://environment.ehp.qld.gov.au/species-search/details/?id=1906

Wedge-tailed shearwater. Photo A. McDougall, QPWS.

Wedge-tailed shearwater. Photo A. McDougall, QPWS.
This photo and more wedge-tailed shearwater photos are at https://environment.ehp.qld.gov.au/species-search/details/?id=1188#

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Last updated
6 October 2015