Thursday, January 20, 2011

Because you know how much we like Sea Turtles at EFT!

Running a turtle hatchery is no easy task. Ask any of us. Baby turtles have a habit of hatching at unreasonable hours or all at the same time or both! It's hectic because you have to release them ASAP, they use the energy from the egg yolk to dash towards the deep ocean, away from the reef and it's predators. You've also got to make sure that you release them from the top of the beach, not into the water, because the females need to remember the beach as they come back to beach they were born to give birth! 

There are strict IUCN (That's the International Union for the Conservation of Nature) protocols for running a hatchery, because Sea Turtles are endangered. Some people running hatcheries don't know of these protocols, or just ignore them. They might keep the hatchlings until they are bigger, because they think the hatchlings will have a better chance against predators. What really happens is that the hatchling has lost it's natural instinct to head out to sea, and hangs around the reef where it is STILL vulnerable to predators. Other hatcheries keep hatchlings back so tourists can hold them and play with them. Imagine if you were a new born baby, and people were passing you around, playing with you on the beach, and touching your umbilical cord. Imagine how disorientating and harmful that would be. It's not different for these turtles. Just because they have a shell doesn't mean they can't be damaged.

So do Sea Turtles a favour, support hatcheries that follow IUCN protocols, and spread the word. Remember, information is the key to conservation! 

P.S. The photo is supposed to be a gif. If the hatchling ain't moving, click on it.

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