26 September 2023

QPWS calls for care as flood animals in danger

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Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) is urging people taking to the water over Easter to exercise extra care as marine animals may be harder to see in flood-affected waters.

Marine Park Ranger at the QPWS, Natalie Sands said the combination of increased boating traffic over the holidays and the reduced water visibility following the recent floods meant there was a higher risk of turtles and dugongs getting injured or killed by boats.

“Turtles and dugongs are surface-breathing marine animals that regularly need to come up for air and risk getting struck by speeding vessels when they do so,” Ms Sands said.

“Boaties should keep an eye out for marine animals at all times, but especially when travelling over seagrass beds, shallow water or as the tide falls.”

She said that in the past two weeks the QPWS had received reports from volunteer group, Turtles in Trouble Fraser Coast, of two stranded sea turtles found with fatal boat strike injuries within the Great Sandy Marine Park.

Team leader for the group, Alison Hammond said it was concerning to see multiple boat strikes in such a short time.

“Both turtles were adult green turtles and were found in the Boonooroo area with significant boat strike injuries to their shells,” Ms Hammond said.

“One was found dead and sadly the other one had to be euthanised, which is always a devastating outcome.”

Ms Sands said QPWS patrols focused on Go Slow Areas and boaties caught doing the wrong thing could face an on-the-spot fine of $551.

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