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Some Threatened Species of the Great Barrier Reef
Marine Turtles
Source: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

.Marine Turtles, in some form or another, have swum the world’s oceans for more than 100 million years. Today’s marine turtles have evolved to form a diverse group of reptiles, many of which are threatened as a result of human-related impacts.

The Loggerhead is the most threatened of Australia’s marine turtles, classified as endangered. These giant marine reptiles, which have jaws adapted for crushing and grinding molluscs and crustaceans, face numerous natural and anthropogenic pressures.


Loggerhead turtle
Courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef
Marine Park Authority

Natural threats include predators like sharks, diseases, parasites and natural disasters resulting in destruction of eggs. Human threats include loss of breeding and nesting habitat, incidental capture in nets (NB: green turtles, not loggerheads, are taken by traditional hunters), collisions with boats, predation of nests by feral animals like foxes, and consumption of human wastes such as plastic bags.

What we can do:

  • Promote awareness within the community and schools by expanding our knowledge and sharing this with others, and then using this knowledge to encourage local governments to take active steps toward turtle conservation;
  • Support scientific research and report any sick or injured or dead turtles to relevant authorities. Contact the Marine Animal Hotline on 1300 360 898;
  • Discard all rubbish into bins and avoid it washing out to sea. Likewise, never discard old fishing gear into the ocean or onto beaches;
  • Be careful of turtles and reduce speed when boating in areas known to contain turtles. Less than planing speed is preferred;
  • Do not disturb the nesting areas of any turtles, and be aware that your pets can do just as much damage as a feral animal; and
  • By implementing devices such as Turtle Exclusion Devices, and by closely monitoring longline and gillnet operations, it is possible to reduce the number of animals that are accidentally caught by commercial fishing.

Green turtle hatchlings
Courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef
Marine Park Authority

Hawksbill turtle
Courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef
Marine Park Authority

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