Far north Queensland is a great place to see marine turtles – and there’s nothing like a close encounter with these beautiful sea creatures.
Their presence is a sign of a healthy maritime environment. Our tropical waters are home to six of the world’s seven known species of marine turtle – but there are threats to turtle populations. Feral animals dig up and eat their eggs, sharks and crocodiles prey on turtles, and they’re a food source for humans.
Turtles get injured by boats or caught in fishing nets. One of the biggest threats to turtles is the presence of plastic bags in the water – turtles eat them, thinking they might be jellyfish. The bag gets stuck in the turtle, it loses its ability to sink down and seek food, and slowly starves to death. If you see a plastic bag at sea or on a beach, pick it up and dispose of it somewhere safe.
Turtles evolved during the Triassic period, about 200 million years ago. ABC Far North wildlife correspondent Martin Cohen has been researching turtles for a book he’s writing about the creatures of the Great Barrier Reef.
Listen to Martin talk about the types of turtles you’ll see in FNQ.