Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Four Season’s Resort keen to support turtle conservation in Seychelles

Early in January, the tourism police from Petite Anse on the west coat of Mahe, rescued a clutch of eggs that was being washed away following heavy rainfall. According to Officer Joubert Emmanual, the eggs were due to hatch shortly.

Four Season’s Resort of Seychelles, Petite Anse, Mahe. photo Elke Talma

After contacting MCSS Research Officer, arrangements were made for Tracy Kolodziej (Mathew’s mum) who lived nearby, to incubate the egg in a bucket on her veranda while we all waited to see if and when the eggs would hatch following their ordeal in the rain.

Sure enough, less than a week later 151 baby turtle emerged from a 151 ping pong ball sized eggs. As the eggs had been collected on Petite Anse, it was decided that they should be released from that beach making them the first official guests of the soon to be completed Four Season Resort of Seychelles.

They were welcomed by General Manager Markus Iseli, while a number of construction workers and various staff from the Resort looked on in amazement. Mathew was also in attendance.

Mathew bonding with his first hawksbill hatchling, photo Donn Du Preez

While turtles are known to nest on Petite Anse, monitoring by MCSS during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 nestings season and again in 2008-09 by the tourism police in collaboration with MCSS, indicated that only 1 to 2 nests were being laid per season most likely by 2 turtles nesting in alternate seasons. Data from 1984, however, suggested there were as many as 5 to 10 nesting females at this site. Over the years, the nesting population on this beach may have been killed off for meat by locals until the Turtle Act came into being in 1994. By then, it was too late, with only a few turtles loyal to Petite Anse remaining.

As turtles take a long time to mature, there is still hope that the beach can be rehabilitated in time to welcome the hatchlings survivors (now mature adults) from the 1980’s and who knows, maybe with a lot of hard work and a dedicated long term monitoring and conservation programme MCSS and Four Season Resort of Seychelles can work together to add another viable nesting site to the currently dwindling turtle populations of Seychelles.

Hatchling # 151 making its way into the wide open ocean, photo Donn Du Preez

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