Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Protecting nests of the Critically Endangered South Pacific loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta from goanna Varanus spp. predation

  • Christine A. Madden Hof (a1), Gabriela Shuster (a1), Nev Mclachlan (a2), Bev Mclachlan (a2), Saranne Giudice (a3), Colin Limpus (a4) and Tomoharu Eguchi (a5)...

Abstract

The South Pacific subpopulation of the loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta is categorized as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List because of significant population declines. Five Queensland beaches support high-density nesting of this subpopulation, but egg and hatchling survival are low at some beaches because of feral and native terrestrial predators. We quantified predation of loggerhead turtle eggs by two species of goanna, Varanus panoptes and Varanus varius, at Wreck Rock beach, one of the turtle's major nesting beaches. In addition, we conducted an experiment to determine the efficacy of a nest protection device. Predation rates at Wreck Rock beach were 15.2% for treatment and 45.8% for non-treatment clutches during the 2013–2014 nesting season. A higher probability of predation (64%) was predicted for the northern beach. Although nests were only partially predated (16.4% of the total number of eggs), nest loss to predators and beach erosion (caused by a cyclone) was 91.7%. If left unmanaged, the cumulative impact of predation and other threats, including those exacerbated by climate change, can cause unsustainable loss of loggerhead turtle nests. This study provides one of the first quantitative data sets on rates of loggerhead turtle clutch predation in the South Pacific. It enhances our understanding of goanna predation impacts and identifies an efficient predator exclusion device for mitigating the effects of terrestrial predators at Wreck Rock beach, and for protecting marine turtle nests across northern Australia and globally.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Protecting nests of the Critically Endangered South Pacific loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta from goanna Varanus spp. predation
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Protecting nests of the Critically Endangered South Pacific loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta from goanna Varanus spp. predation
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Protecting nests of the Critically Endangered South Pacific loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta from goanna Varanus spp. predation
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

Corresponding author

(Corresponding author) E-mail chof@wwf.org.au

Footnotes

Hide All

Supplementary material for this article is available at https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605318001564

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Addison, D.S. (1997) Galvanized wire cages can protect nest depredation. Marine Turtle Newsletter, 76, 811.
Addison, D.S. & Henricy, S. (1994) A comparison of galvanized wire mesh cages vs flat chain-link screen in preventing Procyon lotor depredation of Caretta caretta nests. NOAA Technical Memorandum, 351, 174.
Akaike, H. (1974) A new look at the statistical model identification. IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 19, 716723.
Alfaro-Shigueto, J., Mangel, J., Bernedo, F., Dutton, P.H., Seminoff, J.A. & Godley, B.J. (2011) Small-scale fisheries of Peru: a major sink for marine turtles in the Pacific. Journal of Applied Ecology, 48, 14321440.
Barton, B.T. & Roth, J. (2007) Raccoon removal on sea turtle nesting beaches. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 71, 12341237.
Baskale, E. & Kaska, Y. (2005) Sea turtle nest conservation techniques on southwestern beaches in Turkey. Israel Journal of Zoology 51, 1326.
Berry, M., Booth, D.C. & Limpus, C.J. (2013) Artificial lighting and disrupted sea-finding behaviour in hatchling loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) on the Woongarra coast, south-east Queensland, Australia. Australian Journal of Zoology, 61, 137145.
Blamires, S.J. (1999) Quantifying the impact of predation on sea turtle nests by varanids at Fog Bay. MSc thesis. Northern Territory University, Darwin, Australia.
Blamires, S.J. (2004) Habitat preferences of coastal goannas (Varanus panoptes): are they exploiters of sea turtle nests at Fog Bay, Australia? Copeia, 2, 370377.
Blamires, S.J. & Guinea, M.L. (2003) Emergence success of flatback Sea turtles (Natator depressus) at Fog Bay, Northern Territory, Australia. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 4, 548556.
Bowen, B.W., Kamezaki, N., Limpus, C.J., Hughes, G.R., Meylan, A.B. & Avise, J.C. (1994) Global phylogeography of the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) as indicated by mitochondrial DNA haplotypes. Evolution, 48, 18201828.
Boyle, M.C. & Limpus, C.J. (2008) The stomach contents of post-hatchling green and loggerhead sea turtles in the southwest Pacific: an insight into habitat association. Marine Biology, 155, 233241.
Boyle, M.C., FitzSimmons, N.N., Limpus, C.J., Kelez, S., Velez-Zuazo, X. & Weycott, M. (2009) Evidence for transoceanic migrations by loggerhead sea turtles in the southern Pacific Ocean. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 276, 19931999.
Burke, R.L., Schneider, C.M., Dolinger, M.T. (2005) Cues used by raccoons to find turtle nests: effects of flags, human scent, and diamond-backed terrapin sign. Journal of Herpetology, 39, 312315.
Chatto, R. & Baker, B. (2008) The Distribution and Status of Marine Turtle Nesting in the Northern Territory. Parks and Wildlife Service of the Northern Territory, Palmerston, Australia.
CMS (Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals) (2014) Single Species Action Plan for the Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta, in the South Pacific Ocean. https://www.cms.int/sites/default/files/document/COP11_Doc_23_2_2_Rev1_Annex_2_SSAP_Loggerhead_Turtle_E_0.pdf [accessed 17 May 2019].
Donoso, M. & Dutton, P. (2010) Sea turtle bycatch in the Chilean pelagic longline fishery in the south-eastern Pacific: opportunities for conservation. Biological Conservation, 143, 26722684.
Engeman, R.M., Martin, R.E., Constantin, B., Noel, R. & Woolard., J. (2003) Monitoring predators to optimize their management for marine turtle nest protection. Biological Conservation, 113, 171178.
Engeman, R.M., Martin, R.E., Smith, H.T., Woolard, J., Crady, C.K., Constantin, B. et al. (2006) Impact on predation of sea turtle nests when predator control was removed midway through the nesting season. Wildlife Research, 33, 187192.
Engeman, R., Martin, R.E., Woolard, J., Stahl, M., Pelizza, C., Duffiney, A. & Constantin, B. (2012) An ideal combination for marine turtle conservation: exceptional nesting season, with low nest predation resulting from effective low-cost predator management. Oryx, 46, 229235.
Ferreira, M.B.M.d.S. (2012) Nesting habitat preferences and nest predation of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in the Bijagós Archipelago, Guinea Bissau. MSc thesis, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal.
Gelman, A., Carlin, J.B., Stern, H.S., Dunson, D.B., Vehtari, A. & Rubin, D.B. (2014) Bayesian Data Analysis. CRC Press, Boca Raton, USA.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007) Climate Change 2007–The Physical Science Basis: Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Irwin, W.P. & Lohmann, K.J. (2003) Magnet-induced disorientation in hatchling loggerhead sea turtles. Journal of Experimental Biology, 206, 497501.
Kelez, S., Mamrique, C. & Velez-Zuazo, X. (2005) Conservation of Sea Turtles Along the Coast of Peru. Unpublished Report to UNEP/CMS from Asociación Peruana para la Conservación de la Naturaleza y Grupo de Tortugas Marinas—Perú. https://www.cms.int/sites/default/files/publication/Tortugas_Peru_informe_final_CMS_En.pdf [accessed 3 July 2019].
Kornaraki, E., Matossian, D.A., Mazaris, A.D., Matsinos, Y.G. & Margaritoulis, D. (2006) Effectiveness of different conservation measures for loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) nests at Zakynthos Island, Greece. Biological Conservation, 130, 324330.
Kurz, D.J., Straley, K.M. & DeGregorio, B.A. (2011) Out-foxing the red fox: how to best protect the nests of the Endangered loggerhead marine turtle Caretta caretta from mammalian predation? Oryx, 46, 223228.
Lamarre-DeJesus, A.S. & Griffin, C.R. (2013) Use of habanero pepper powder to reduce depredation of loggerhead sea turtle nests. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 12, 262267.
Lei, J. & Booth, D.T. (2017a) Who are the important predators of sea turtle nests at Wreck Rock beach? Peer J, 5, e3515.
Lei, J. & Booth, D.T. (2017b) How best to protect the nests of the Endangered loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta from monitor lizard predation? Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 16, 246249.
Lei, J., Booth, D.T. & Dwyer, R.G. (2017) Spatial ecology of yellow-spotted goannas adjacent to a sea turtle nesting beach. Australian Journal of Zoology, 65, 7786.
Limpus, C.J. (1971) The flatback turtle, Chelonia depressa Garman in Southeast Queensland, Australia. Herpetologica, 27, 431446.
Limpus, C.J. (2008) A Biological Review of Australian Marine Turtles. 1. Loggerhead Turtle Caretta caretta (Linneaus). Queensland Environment Protection Agency, Brisbane, Australia.
Limpus, C. & Casale, P. (2015) Caretta caretta (South Pacific subpopulation). In The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T84156809A84156890. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T84156809A84156890.en [accessed 8 January 2017].
Limpus, C.J. & Limpus, D.J. (2003) Loggerhead turtles in the equatorial and Southern Pacific Ocean: a species in decline. In Loggerhead Sea Turtles (eds Bolten, A.B. & Witherington, B.E.), pp. 199209. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA.
Limpus, C.J., Boyle, M. & Sunderland, T. (2006) New Caledonian loggerhead turtle population assessment: 2005 pilot study. In Kinan, I. Proceedings of Second Western Pacific Sea Turtle Cooperative Research and Management Workshop. Volume II. North Pacific Loggerhead Sea Turtles, pp. 7792. Western Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Council, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.
Limpus, C.J., Parmenter, C.J. & Chaloupka, M. (2013) Monitoring of Coastal Sea Turtles: Gap Analysis 1. Loggerhead Turtles, Caretta caretta, in the Port Curtis and Port Alma Region. Report Produced for the Ecosystem Research and Monitoring Program Advisory Panel as Part of Gladstone Ports Corporation's Ecosystem Research and Monitoring Program. Gladstone Ports Corporation, Gladstone, Australia.
Macdonald, D.W., Brown, L., Yerli, S. & Canbolat, A-F. (1994) Behavior of red foxes, Vulpes vulpes, caching eggs of loggerhead turtles, Caretta caretta. Journal of Mammalogy, 75, 985988.
Marquez, M.R. (1990) Sea Turtles of the World. Vol. 11. An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Sea Turtle Species Known to Date. Food and Agriculture Organisations of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.
McLachlan, N., McLachlan, B., Hof, C., Giudice, S., Shuster, G., Bunce, A. & Eguchi, T. (2015) Predator reduction strategies for protecting loggerhead turtle nests at Wreck Rock beach in Queensland. In: Proceedings of the Second Australian and Second Western Australian Marine Turtle Symposia, Perth 25-27 August 2014 (compiled by Whiting, S.D. & Tucker, A.), p. 57. Science Division, Department of Parks and Wildlife, Perth, Australia.
Mroziak, M.L., Salmon, M. & Rusenko., K. (2000) Do wire cages protect sea turtles from foot traffic and mammalian predators? Chelonian Conservation Biology, 3, 693698.
Norris, A., Low, T., Gordon, I., Saunders, G., Lapidge, S., Lapidge, K. et al. (2005) Review of the Management of Feral Animals and their Impact on Biodiversity in the Rangelands: a Resource to Aid NRM Planning. Pest Animal Control Cooperative Research Centre, Canberra, Australia.
O'Connor, J.M., Limpus, C.J., Hofmeister, K.M., Allen, B.L., Burnett, S.E. (2017) Anti-predator meshing may provide greater protection for sea turtle nests than predator removal. PLOS ONE, 12, e0171831.
Plummer, M. (2015) rjags: Bayesian Graphical Models using MCMC. R package version 3-15. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=rjags [accessed 17 May 2019].
Prange, S., Gehrt, S.D. & Wiggers, E.P. (2004) Influences on anthropogenic resources on raccoon (Procyon lotor) movements and spatial distribution. Journal of Mammology, 85, 483490.
Prugh, L.R., Stoner, C.J., Epps, C.W., Bean, W.T., Ripple, W.J., Laliberte, A.S. & Brashares, J.S. (2009) The rise of the mesopredator. Bioscience, 59, 779791.
Ratnaswamy, M.J., Warren, R.J., Kramer, M.T. & Adam, M.D. (1997) Comparisons of lethal and nonlethal techniques to reduce raccoon depredation of sea turtle nests. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 61, 368376.
R Core Team (2015) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria.
Schroeder, B.A. (1981) Predation and nest success in two species of marine turtles (Caretta caretta and Chelonia mydas) at Merritt Island, Florida. Florida Scientist, 44, 35.
Shine, R. (1986) Food habits, habitats and reproductive biology of four sympatric species of varanid lizards in tropical Australia. Herpetologica, 42, 346360.
Shine, R. (2010) The ecological impact of invasive cane toads (Bufo marinus) in Australia. The Quarterly Review of Biology, 85, 253291.
Smith, H.T. & Engeman, R.M. (2002) An extraordinary raccoon density at an urban park in Florida. Canadian Field Naturalist, 116, 636639.
Stancyk, S.E., Talbert, O.R. & Dean, J.M. (1980) Nesting activity of the loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta in South Carolina II. Protection of nests from raccoon predation by transplantation. Biological Conservation, 18, 289298.
Tsellarius, A.Y., Men'shikov, Y.G. & Tsellarius, E.Y. (2011) Spacing pattern and reproduction in Varanus griseus of Western Kyzylkum. Russian Journal of Herpetology, 2, 153165.
Ujvari, B. & Madsen, T. (2009) Increased mortality of naive varanid lizards after the invasion of non-native cane toads (Bufo marinus). Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 4, 248251.
Welicky, R.L., Wyneken, J. & Noonburg, E.G. (2012) A retrospective analysis of sea turtle nest depredation patterns. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 76, 278284.
Whytlaw, P.A., Edwards, W. & Congdon, B.C. (2013) Marine turtle nest depredation by feral pigs (Sus scrofa) on the Western Cape York Peninsula, Australia: implications for management. Wildlife Research, 40, 377384.
Wickham, H. (2009) Ggplot2: Elegant Graphics for Data Analysis. Springer, New York, USA.
Wood, S. & Scheipl, F. (2014) gamm4: Generalized additive mixed models using mgcv and lme4. R package version 0.2-3. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=gamm4 [accessed 17 May 2019].
Yerli, S., Canbolat, A.F., Brown, L.J. & MacDonald, D.W. (1997) Mesh grids protect loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) nests from red fox (Vulpes vulpes) predation. Biological Conservation, 82, 109111.

Keywords

Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary materials

Madden Hof et al. supplementary material
Madden Hof et al. supplementary material

 PDF (283 KB)
283 KB

Protecting nests of the Critically Endangered South Pacific loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta from goanna Varanus spp. predation

  • Christine A. Madden Hof (a1), Gabriela Shuster (a1), Nev Mclachlan (a2), Bev Mclachlan (a2), Saranne Giudice (a3), Colin Limpus (a4) and Tomoharu Eguchi (a5)...

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed