Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dirk meets a rock climbing turtle

Following the release of the five young turtles from Germany Mr Dirk Hausen of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, stayed on for a short holiday in Seychelles and on his last day joined Elke on a turtle patrol.

Before they set off, Elke made it very clear that there would be a lot of walking on hot, humid beaches and that they would not see any turtles as the tides were wrong. Despite the warning, Dirk insisted on coming along, as he wanted to see more of the island.

By the time they got to the 5th beach, one of Elke predictions was called into question ... there was a turtle on the beach!
In fact, Elke and Dirk were so busy talking that they nearly trampled the poor animal.

After selecting a safe and comfortable viewing area, it was soon clear that the turtle needed assistance. She was on her second egg chamber and digging up roots. Sneaking up behind her, commando style, Elke and Dirk took turns to help rip the roots out of her way (Elke’s trusty knife for such occasions was in the office with the satellite tagging gear, in the hope that she would eventually lay her eggs.

Dirk sneaking up on the turtle to assist with digging, photo Elke Talma

After an hour of trying to dig an egg chamber, the turtle decided to move on...picking a spot less than a meter away with just as many roots!
After digging a total of 4 egg chambers, the turtle finally decide she had enough and headed back to sea without laying.

Dirk cringed as he listened to the grinding of her shell, as she navigated over the rocks. Elke, who by now hot, injured and covered from head to toe in sand, after her “good deed” for the day, felt no sympathy whatsoever!!!
Dirk trying to get a facial shot for photo-ID, photo Elke Talma

NOTE: The same turtle was seen by a group of inebriated tourists later that day. She emerged on a neighbouring beach and for reasons yet to be properly explained, her eggs were relocated to a 3rd beach. This means that Elke will not be getting any DNA from this turtle!


Anonymous said...

This hawkbill is crazy!


Anonymous said...

Ouch; Don't they get hurt?