The first hatchlings of 2010!

8 06 2010

“The turtles are hatching! The turtles are hatching!”

The excited cries could be heard halfway around Tioman as school students and staff dropped what they were doing and ran to take a look. On the 25th of May, Melina Beach Turtle Hatchery welcomed into the world the very first batch of turtle hatchlings for the season.

The baby Green turtles had spent 62 days beneath the sand and chose to emerge from their nest late on a sunny and warm afternoon. Perfect timing! At Melina Beach, turtle youngsters are kept safe in the hatchery until sunrise or sunset to prevent the bright lights of Tioman resorts confusing them at night.

Counting the turtle hatchlings and checking to make sure they are A-OK!

Before their release, the Ecofieldtrips staff checked and counted each hatchling. The delicate and time consuming job was gladly accepted by two of the newest members, Tara and Ling. Neither had experienced a hatchling release before and were instantly charmed by the swarm of frantic tiny flippers.

Out of the 119 eggs that were buried in the hatchery, a whopping 116 happy and healthy hatchlings emerged! This is a fantastic result; not only for the turtle hatchery’s already high success rate, but for the threatened Green sea turtle population. Unfortunately, unsustainable fishing techniques and egg poaching is taking its toll on many turtle species. Greens are listed as ‘endangered’ by the IUCN.

The extremely lucky year 7 students from TTS and some students from Seoul Foreign School became the envy of every school this year. The unexpected turtle hatching event occurred in the middle of their fieldtrips! Over 100 eager students lined the beach under the infamous sea pandan tree where the turtle mother originally laid her eggs.

Each student released one baby turtle and watched them scamper down the beach. The little whippersnappers were wished the best of luck as they left the sand and entered the big blue. Nobody really knows what happens in the life of a baby turtle, but as we watched, a myriad of tiny heads popping up for a breath of fresh air could be seen disappearing into the distance.

Good luck little ones!

Tara

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