Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Its a green!

Another contribution from Kristina our MSc student...

You remember there was a huge green turtle track on Grand Police? Just about two weeks later we had another one coming up; and this one did lay!! =) Plus, someone already saw the body pit and marked the area as a turtle nest. So generous that someone should put palm leaves around the body pit and hang a paper on one pillar of the shelter to warn that there is a nest. In fact, this was really good because it might make people more careful around the area but it does also mark the body pit as the nest instead of the actual nest. So, if some stupid people would decide to try and dig for eggs of harm the nest otherwise, they would only find sand. And maybe some crabs =) 
 Nicely marked sign for the turtle nest

The tracks were still visible and to be honest, the up- and the down-track were super close. The turtle must have just come up, dug and gone straight back down. Per se, this sounds logical and I didn’t really think that it was weird. BUT: greens are not hawksbills. That’s what I learned that day. Usually, green turtles will walk quite some way on the beach, make a lot of body pits, dig the nest, camouflage it really good, make another body pit and then go back down leaving a huge mess behind. This is why Vanessa first thought that she did not lay. But in the end it seemed very likely and we think that the nest is just next to the body pit (on that image above it would be to the left under the shelter). The sand showed all the characteristics; it was loose and looked like it has been recently moved.
The green turtle tracks, obscured by lots of human footprints

Can you make out the tracks on the picture? They are still visible. We assumed that the turtle came up one to two days prior to our patrol because they are visible but clearly not fresh anymore and there were a lot of human tracks around and over it. If tracks are quite fresh, it also helps to look where they start because that will be the water line at the time of emergence/exit. Then you can compare that with the current tide line and the tide table to get a rough time of emergence.

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