Foxy Koala Lady
A project of Sandy Cape Turtle Volunteers.
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Species: Green Turtle
Life Stage: Adult Female
Release Date: 2016-10-24 07:45:00
Release Location: Fraser Island
Last Location: 2017-02-19 18:40:58
"Foxy Koala Lady" was first flipper tagged (K9451) at Airlie Bay in the Whitsundays, Queensland, in a rodeo on 17 October 1998 (was 94cm), and again (K24017)on 30 May 1999 (was 94.9cm), and identified as a sub-adult green turtle.
She was found on 24th October 2016 basking on the beach on the NW tip of Fraser Island, close to a male turtle, and had the skin and shell damage at the front of the carapace, typical of courting activity.
She now measures 108.8cm, having grown 14cm in 18 years.
She was taken to the Sandy Cape Lighthouse, and fitted with her satellite tracker, and had a large red "F" written below it to help with ID at a distance. When released she basked at the lighthouse gate for 2 1/2 days before heading out and north into the Coral Sea, where she mapped out an anticlockwise 1,600km / 1,000 mile outline of a Koala (bear), or a fox, over the next month, on her way around and back to the Sandy Straits inside Fraser IslandThe fox image is ironic - foxes are serious predator of Australian mainland turtle rookeries, and have recently crossed from the mainland onto Fraser Island. In 2016 foxes have been seen 3/4 of the way up the Island at Awinya Creek, only 30km to 40km from either end of the densest part of the Fraser Island loggerhead and green turtle nesting rookery.
While an annual nest relocation program currently protects about 60% of Fraser Island's loggerhead nests, this may have to be expanded if the foxes begin to impact on the green turtle clutches.
She went back around Sandy Cape, and south and began swimming a second, larger anticlockwise loop into the Pacific for all of December, and returned to hover close to shore, near Double Island Point for a week from 7th to 14th January. She then spent 3 weeks moving up the coast, and arrived back at her foraging home near Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays, on 7th February 2017, where she remains, apparently without nesting this season.