Horizon Power sets mood for turtle breeding season

Hand holding baby flatback turtle
Image: Shutterstock

Horizon Power has switched off a number of streetlights along Port Hedland’s beachfront to create a more conducive environment for flatback turtles to breed and for their hatchlings to thrive.

The initiative is a partnership between Horizon Power, the Town of Port Hedland, and environmental interest group, Care for Hedland, and aims to minimise human impact on the turtle breeding and hatching season.

Flatback sea turtles nest only on Australian beaches and have the shortest migratory range of all sea turtles.

Care For Hedland representative Maddie Beaton said adjusting the lighting assists with the natural hatching process as the turtles are very sensitive to light and get easily distracted.

“During the nesting process, adult turtles may get disorientated by light, which can lead to unsuccessful nest building and laying of eggs. Later in the season, hatchlings can be confused by light and may be unable to find their way to the ocean as a result,” Beaton said.

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“To ensure a successful turtle breeding season, we have worked with Horizon Power to reduce the street lighting in this area. The presence of flatback turtles provides our community with the opportunity to witness this unique event and to become actively involved in contributing to the monitoring of the protected species.”

Residents and visitors have been advised that switching off the streetlights for the turtle season is a timely reminder that neither torches nor flash photography are allowed on the beach at night during turtle season.

Horizon Power chief executive oficer Stephanie Unwin said it was a privilege to support turtle conservation in the Pilbara and help increase awareness of the flatback turtle breeding season.

“Horizon Power is committed to reducing its impact on the environment wherever it can. Sometimes it is something as small as reducing the lighting to create an ambient setting,” Unwin said.

“We are happy to do whatever we can to promote conservation efforts in our regional communities and we applaud the work Care For Hedland is doing to protect these very special turtles that share our beaches at this time of year.”

For information on how to get involved in the Port Hedland turtle monitoring program, including how to adopt a turtle, visit www.careforhedland.org.au.

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