Lights off for nesting turtles

The West Australian and Seven West Media (WA)
Taylar Amonini

Care for Hedland team Jo Smith, Andrew Greenley and Caitlin Smith. Picture: Taylar AmoniniAs Hedland conservationists switch their efforts to monitoring the arrival of nesting flatback turtles, street lights are being switched off to reduce the negative impacts they can have on the threatened species.

In an ongoing partnership between the Town of Port Hedland, Care For Hedland Environmental Association and Horizon Power, street lights along sections of Sutherland Street in front of Cemetery Beach have been switched off.

Care For Hedland scientific co-ordinator Caitlin Smith said turning off the street lights was a timely reminder that bright lights can disorientate turtles and lead to unsuccessful nest building.

“Basically turtles can see 200m from the ocean on to the beach and they scout it out before they come up, so if they see people walking along the beach with moving lights it’s kind of like a beacon saying don’t come up,” she said.

“People can still come down, just don’t bring lights, don’t use flash photography and don’t leave your pets.”

Every second light from Stevens Street to Crawford Street will be switched off for the duration of the turtle nesting season.

To become involved in the turtle monitoring program, contact Care For Hedland Environmental Association at coordinator@careforhedland. org or visit the group’s Facebook page.