The front beach near South End on Curtis Island supports a medium density nesting population of the flatback turtle, a species of turtle found only in Australian waters. Between 30 and 100 females nest on South End annually. This species is also known to nest at other beaches in the region including Facing Island and Tannum Sands. This species is listed as vulnerable under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and prefers offshore coastal waters over the continental shelf where they feed on soft-bodied species such as sea pens, soft corals and sea cucumbers.
Green turtles are the most common species of turtle found in the Port Curtis and Port Alma regions and utilise the area for feeding. They are also listed as vulnerable under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and the EPBC Act 1999, and prefer a diet of seagrass, algae and mangrove fruits. While green turtles have been recorded nesting in Port Curtis and Port Alma, they prefer the offshore islands of the Great Barrier Reef.
Marine turtles are reptiles characterised by a large, streamlined shell (carapace) and non-retractable head and flippers. Turtles can be identified by the number and arrangement of the plates (scutes) on the carapace and head. Seven species of marine turtles are well recognised worldwide, with six out of seven recorded within the Port Curtis and Port Alma regions. The following marine turtles visit our areas at various times during the year, with only the flatback and green turtles nesting in our region:
- Green turtle
- Flatback turtle
- Hawksbill turtle
- Olive ridley turtle
- Leatherback turtle
- Loggerhead turtle
Click on the links below for more information on turtles and GPC’s environmental initiatives.