About 2 months ago, during a routine patrol we found the fresh remains of a young adult female hawksbill turtle on one of our small beaches. Poachers had killed her before she had even laid her eggs. These, they had tossed carelessly into the rocks, many of them still in their long tube like egg sacs.
It is sad that this young turtle 25 to 30 years old, perhaps in her first breeding season had travelled hundreds of miles to the beach where, as a hatchling her life had begun, only now to 'rendez vous’ with death. Our hearts heavy, we phoned Elke with the bad news. She advised us to collect and relocate any eggs we could find.
So Marcel collected up the undamaged eggs and buried them in a ‘Marcel made’ nest above the high water mark on the beach at the front of our bungalow. This small act helped immensely to lift the sadness we felt at the killing of one of our turtles, and gave us hope that at least some of the eggs would hatch.
As time ran out and no hatchlings emerged we had to investigate the nest. Unfortunately we had hoped in vain, it was not to be. No happy ending this time, as not one egg hatched.
When I review the photographs taken that day on that small beach, I feel so sad and I wonder if all this grief is worth it. But of course it is!
Each turtle season, we learn more about these strange beasts and we see how the people around us are no longer wielding a ‘grand cuto’ to kill them, but are watching out for the turtles, protecting them as they lay their eggs and then seeing them safely back to the sea. The news that a turtle is nesting is passed on to us with such excitement and the pleasure received by all who watch over one of these strange inoffensive beasts is difficult to describe.
…. News from Patricia