Sunday, October 11, 2009

Williana the Hawksbill turtle (SCA0838)

A turtle decided to nest on Anse Boileau on the 7th October. She was spotted by locals, who reported the sighting to the Police. They called the Green Line, who in turn contacted Elke, who was just finishing off the last beach patrol of the day.

Arriving on site some 10 minutes after receiving the call, Elke confirmed that the turtle was not being disturbed by the 10-15 people watching her under police supervision. Indeed, the turtle was happily laying a batch of eggs by the road side as buses roared past.

Williana was completely unfazed by the buses rushing past her, photo Elke Talma

While giving an impromptu turtle talk in Creole (..and really bad French for 2 tourist in the crowd), Elke roped Wilbert Elizabeth, a local, into being an MCSS photographer for the afternoon. While Elke measured and tagged, Wilfred happily clicked away on Elke’s camera, documenting his first encounter with a nesting turtle. Elke then took over for some photo-ID shots for Claire, from Kelonia.

Elke placing tag SCA0838 on Williana’s left flipper while the turtle laid her eggs , photo Wilbert Elizabeth

Once the turtle had entered the water, everyone gathered discussed whether the eggs should be moved. The location was good in terms of shade cover and distance from the high tide line, but the worry was that the nest would be dug up locals or dogs. Eventually it was agreed that the Wildlife Club of Anse Boileau would monitor the nest.

Elke returned the following day with a turtle nest marker and some laminated Turtle Watchers Code of Conduct sheets which were nailed onto nearby trees. She then surprised Wilfred by naming the turtle, Williana after his new born daughter.

Less than a minute after placing the signs, local residents were stopping to read them, photo Elke Talma

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