Street lighting to protect turtles

Ergon Energy installs turtle friendly street lighting for Livingstone Shire Council.

Ergon Energy is working in partnership with Livingstone Shire Council to install turtle friendly street lighting along the Zilzie Esplanade.

Artificial lighting can interfere with a turtle’s ability to see the natural horizon and hatchlings can become disorientated and veer from their path.

Four street lights along the esplanade have been swapped to amber coloured lighting as part of a trial, which is being supported by Queensland Marine Parks and Wildlife Service and Fitzroy Basin Association volunteers.

Portfolio holder for Water, Waste Management and the Environment Councillor Andrea Friend said some hatchlings that have made it out to sea can be lured back to the land by strong coastal lights.

“Hatchlings have a low chance of survival with only about 1 in 1,000 reaching maturity, so it’s vital council helps to maximise nesting success and hatchling survival,” Cr Friend said.

“Zilzie is a well-known nesting area for sea turtles and it’s important that council acts to protect the species with this trial.”

Residents are also being urged to switch off unnecessary lights, close curtains and blinds, use motion sensor lights for external lights, position lights so they face away from the beach, plant vegetation to create a light barrier, only use a small torch (less than 3 volts) on the beach and use shade lights to reduce illuminated areas when camping.

The breeding season is from 15 October-30 April, with the street lighting to remain in place throughout the 2021 turtle hatchling season.

For more information about the impact of artificial lighting, visit https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/mon-repos/about/cut-the-glow#artificial_lights