SEA LIFE Mooloolaba has been given an AMAZING opportunity to showcase ten Flatback sea turtle hatchlings. This is great opportunity (the first of its kind for a public aquarium) provided to us by the Department of Environmental Heritage Protection (DHP) to educate guests on the only sea turtle in the World to solely nest on Australian land.
The Flatback hatchlings that we will be housed in the aquarium are not just any hatchlings. These hatchlings have come from a nest laid by turtle ‘23103’ that has a wonderful story. From years of careful research turtle ‘21303’ lives in Repulse Bay off Conway National Park. In 1974 she began her first journey down to Mon Repo to nest for the first time but It was not clear at the time as she wasn’t tagged how many clutches she laid that year. She returned once again in 1979 (identified by pictures of markings) and was fitted with an ID tag. Since then she has been recorded returning every 2-5 years to lay between 1-4 clutches (nests) of eggs.
This season marks the 41st year (seasons are Dec to Feb) she has returned to nest in Mon Repo. She laid five clutches this year before returning back to her home in Repulse Bay. The 10 hatchlings you can see at SEA LIFE are from one of the clutches this year. They’ll grow until their shells are 15 cm long before being fitted with transmitters and released off the Bundaberg coast. The transmitters will tell researchers how the young turtles live and move during early life and will help us find new ways to protect their habitats.