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Campers to make way for magnificent wildlife

22 January 2016

Photo: A. McDougall, QPWS.

Photo: A. McDougall, QPWS.

Two national park islands off Gladstone will be temporarily off limits to campers in a bid to maximise the survival of turtle hatchlings and seabird chicks.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Southern Great Barrier Reef Principal Ranger Rebecca Allen said the campgrounds at Lady Musgrave and North West Islands, part of the Capricornia Cays National Park, off the Central Queensland coast, would be closed between 27 January and 24 March, inclusive.

“The annual camping closures reduce disturbance and minimise human impacts on this important breeding ground for endangered marine turtles and thousands of nesting seabirds,” Ms Allen said.

“The camping closures will also allow time for the islands’ vegetation, which has limited occurrence outside of the Capricornia Cays National Park and is particularly susceptible to disturbances, to recuperate.

“Each year, closures help turtles and seabirds such as black noddies, wedge-tailed shearwaters, roseate terns, black-naped terns and bridled terns, breed with minimal disturbance at these significant breeding rookeries.

“Around three quarters of all breeding seabird biomass found on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is concentrated in the Capricornia Cays.

“While the annual closures mean the areas are a no-go zone for campers for a short period, we encourage locals and holidaymakers to make plans to revisit on Good Friday (25 March) when the sites reopen to camping.”

Ms Allen said the closure period was also a reminder to boaties to keep a good lookout and slow down for turtles.

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

“We ask boaties to do the right thing and reduce their speed in estuaries, sandy straights and shallow inshore areas.

“Remember to ‘go slow for those below’.”

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

Last updated
22 January 2016