DUGONGS AND TURTLES STARVE AGAIN

SUNSHINE COAST DAILY Dugongs and turtles face food shortage after floods

Dugongs and turtles will face a shortage of seagrass following the January floods.
Dugongs and turtles will face a shortage of seagrass following the January floods.

STILL recovering from floods more than two years ago, Hervey Bay’s dugongs and turtles will now face another stretch of scarce food in the region following ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald.

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection chief scientist Dr Col Limpus said it could be months before the full impact of the floods on seagrass beds and marine life could be determined.

He said both dugongs and turtles rely on the seagrass beds as their main source of food.

Murky water and low salinity that followed the 2011 floods is expected to once again impact seagrass supply.

“If seagrass is in short supply a small proportion of the populations can be expected to die but most dugongs and turtles will alter where they feed until the seagrass beds recover,” Dr Limpus said.

“We know from the experience of past weather events that the populations will recover but it will take time,” he said.

Five turtles were found stranded on Hervey Bay beaches in January, however data on strandings in February have yet to be published.

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