Watch out for endangered turtle hatchlings on South West beaches after stormy weather

Headshot of Ailish Delaney
Ailish DelaneyBunbury Herald
Email Ailish Delaney
Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre conservation manager Jan Tierney with little Cecil, a loggerhead turtle hatchling rescued off the coast last year.
Camera IconBunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre conservation manager Jan Tierney with little Cecil, a loggerhead turtle hatchling rescued off the coast last year. Credit: Shannon Verhagen/Shannon Verhagen

South West residents are encouraged to keep their eyes in the sand while strolling along the beach, with warnings stranded marine turtle hatchlings could wash ashore after the week of wild weather.

Dolphin Discovery Centre conservation manager Jan Tierney said between the centre and Perth Zoo, almost 20 turtles had been received so far and she expected more to come.

Three baby turtles were handed in to Dunsborough and Busselton Wildlife Care last Wednesday after they washed up at Yallingup beach, and are now among the hatchlings calling the DDC home while they recover.

A baby endangered turtle washed up along Bunbury's Back Beach.
Camera IconA baby endangered turtle washed up along Bunbury's Back Beach.

Hatchlings have been found throughout the South West and along the beaches in the Peel and Perth regions, with those needing critical care sent to Perth Zoo for treatment.

Ms Tierney said the endangered turtles hatch in the North West and start their journey carried by the Leeuwin Current, but bad weather often forced them into cold oceans and could leave them stranded on shore.

The DDC warns residents that any turtles found will be severely ill and should not be returned to the water. Instead, people should wrap them in a towel or place them in a container and call the centre on 9791 3088.

“If you’re walking your dog along the beach and it takes a particular liking to a clump of seaweed, check it out because dogs often find hatchlings,” she said.

The turtles will be cared for at the DDC before being released off Exmouth early next year.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails