Sunday, May 3, 2009

Blood on the Rocks by Patricia.

The hawksbill nesting season is now drawing to a close and Marcel and I are counting the days to the hatching dates of the last few nests. One nest in particular has been getting a lot of our attention.

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.

Carcass of the poached Hawksbill turtle, photo Marcel Mathiot.

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.

A string of eggs still encased in the long tube like egg sacs, photo Patricia Mathiot.

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.

The batch of relocated eggs never developed, photo Marcel Mathiot.

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


Roberta Wild said...

Dear Patricia and Marcel

Well done for trying. Even though the eggs did not hatch at least your good deeds outshone the horrible act of some ignorant barbarian.
Lets hope for better luck next time!!!

Anonymous said...

gHi Elke

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the MCSS Turtle Blog, except for the one "Blood on the Rocks" which saddened me. I am nonetheless filled with optimism by the great work you and the volunteers are doing.

All the best to all of you,

Ronny Jumeau over at the UN in New York

turtle chick said...

Dear Ambassador Jumeau,

Thanks for your words of encouragement. Unfortunately turtle poaching is a reality in Seychelles. This needs to be brought to the public’s attention – by reporting on the good and bad aspects of turtle conservation we have a better chance of succeeding in protecting this endangered species.

MCSS hopes to encourage other people living on nesting beaches to follow in the footsteps of Marcel and Patricia, who are doing their bit to help the global turtle conservation effort.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading the blog and I hope others will get the inspiration to join in the quest to save the turtle not just in seychelles, but where ever they may travel. I was deaply saddened as I read and saw the pictures from Blood on the rocks. Stories like this highlight the reality of poaching and how important it is for us to break this horrid habit!!. I really admire those volunteers who are trying to make a difference and who will succeed as more and more people join the quest to save the turtle in Seychelles. Whether it be by becoming a Volunteer or just becoming more aware when on the beach or out on the ocean. Lets hope this article inspires others to act and make a difference!!!!

Marcelle England UK