Monday, January 27, 2020

2019-2020 Sea turtle nesting season update

This season 2019-2020 has been a very busy one so far, with relevant improvement compared to the previous season, especially in terms of the number of emergences and nests recorded.
Safely heading back to sea after successfully nesting
So far, MCSS has recorded 444 emergences and 266 nests in total from both Green and Hawksbill turtles, with the majority of records being related to the Hawksbill turtles. Green turtles are observed nesting all year round compared to Hawksbill turtles that particularly nest during October through to March.
A beautiful shot of a Hawksbill turtle heading back to sea
We had the chance of having 41 Hawksbill turtles encounters so far in the season, and these can sometimes be from the same turtles being encountered several times in the season. Through our photo-identification process, we discovered that one of the turtles was last seen back in 2015, so it was a great joy to see her nesting successfully again for this season.
Poaching remains a major concern and unfortunately at least a dozen turtles have been recorded as poached for this season by MCSS, with the majority being Hawksbill turtles and in most cases the female had obviously not had the chance to lay her eggs, but was instead dragged away by poachers.
A vulnerable female turtle seeking to nest
Hawksbill turtles are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red list, consuming their meat is also very risky as they feed on sponges that contain toxins, but it is nonetheless still practiced with consumers either buying the meat off as Green turtle meat unknowingly or some others claiming to know how to prepare it without being intoxicated.
Poached turtle carcass

The fact remains that sea turtles are protected under the law and their population are still at risk of extinction, so conservation of the species remains one of our main goal.

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