The sound of bells tolling will echo across Bundaberg on Tuesday at 10am to celebrate the arrival of the first nesting turtle of the season at Mon Repos.
On Sunday evening, rangers discovered one of their long-time nesting Flatback Turtles (X23103) emerged onto the beach to lay her first clutch of eggs.
Ranger in charge of the Mon Repos Turtle Centre, Shane O’Connor says the ringing of the bells is based on an ancient Scottish tradition to welcome back fishing boats returning to port, adapted to herald the start of each turtle season.
“St Peter’s Anglican Church in Bargara will be the first to ring its bells at 10 am, to be joined by many junior turtle rangers ringing the bells at schools around the region” Mr O’Connor says.
“It’s a truly wonderful tradition that Bundaberg locals and tourists look forward to each year with great anticipation.
“The two rangers patrolling the beach on Sunday were very excited to witness the first turtle ashore for the breeding season.
“Flatback turtle X23103 last nested here two years ago. This is now her 19th breeding season; she’s been in the program for more than 49 years and laid more than 40 nests here in her life.
“We’re hoping it will be another busy nesting season with lots of turtles swimming to Mon Repos shores to lay their eggs,” he says.
Mon Repos Turtle Encounter is the only Ranger-guided turtle encounter available on the east coast and is instrumental in the research into turtle conservation.
Mon Repos Conservation Park supports the largest population of nesting loggerhead turtles in the South Pacific and is critical to the survival of this endangered turtle.