YES, they are here and they have been for ages.
Nesting turtles at Inskip Point have proved both sides wrong in the great debate about human impact in their lives, particularly from campers and four-wheel-drivers.
One Rainbow Beach resident submitted these photographs yesterday, showing turtles nesting contentedly and successfully, despite the doubts of some campers and the concerns expressed by the State Government's Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.
Campers and pro-camping conservationists expressed doubts last week about QPWS motives in erecting hazard fencing around one claimed turtle nest, about 250m from the barge landing area.
They said the action followed moves to reduce camper numbers, close a section of the beach and untruthful anti-camper claims by some influential government advisers, including the Noosa Parks Association, which has falsely told members of a non-existent riot among campers two years ago.
The NPA, which is known to have the ear of the State Government, has advocated stricter controls on camping, while at the same time telling its members that 120 of them are now eligible for a “working holiday” at the association's exclusive Double Island Point lighthouse lease.
Camping advocate Reg Lawler said the hazard fencing “intrigued me, as it is in a section of beach that the government is planning to close to all traffic and it is such a happy coincidence for a turtle's nest to be found there”. He said some campers said the turtles were “an addition to the large crocodiles and dangerous drop bears that have recently been reported”.
A spokesperson for the Environmental Protection Agency, the government department which includes the QPWS, denied the EPA had an agenda against camping and defended the fencing.
Now the ones in the middle, the turtles, say both sides are wrong. They are there and they have been breeding peacefully among the campers without previously being noticed. And they have not been run over by beach drivers, including the one who took these pictures.