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Baby sea turtles released off Darwin beach in front of hundreds of spectators

ABC News logo ABC News 26/09/2017

The turtle release was the third this year. © Provided by ABC News The turtle release was the third this year. Hundreds of spectators have helped send off about 80 baby sea turtles from Casuarina beach in Darwin.

While it might seem like a large crowd, the waiting list to release the turtles to the ocean is currently about 3,000 people.

The waiting list came about after NT Parks and Wildlife were contacted by people wanting to help release the creatures.

Those involved were only told the day before that the eggs had hatched and were ready to go.

Ray Chatto from Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife said they were trying to get as many people to releases as possible to reduce the list.

"We don't normally run 300 or whatever we had tonight but we had two turtle nest hatches within two days so it's been a really good year," he said.

"Hopefully we'll get that list down so that people saying 'I had to wait four years' will no longer be the case."

This release is the third for the year and Mr Chatto said he expected about another 10 releases before the end of 2017.

Darwin is the only capital city in Australia where flatback turtles nest and lay their eggs on the beaches.

Mr Chatto said NT Parks and Wildlife tried not to interfere with the eggs and nests, unless necessary.

"And the eggs stay where they're laid basically on the same beach if we don't shift them at all.

"They hatch in that area, they move up through the sand in that area, we trap them with a little upside down pot plant trap and then we keep them for 12 hours during the day and release them at night time."

Mr Chatto said many of the surviving hatchlings released off the beach would return to nest at Casuarina beach in decades to come.

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