A total of 97 endangered green sea turtle hatchlings made their way into the sea for the first time at Surin Islands National Park, 55km off the coast of southern Thailand’s Phang Nga province, on Monday. Park rangers had kept a close eye on the nest since the mother turtle laid the eggs two months ago.
The eggs showed their first sign of hatching around 9:30am on Monday morning. Park rangers said the sand around the nest collapsed which is a sure sign the hatchings are almost ready to come out. The park rangers waited in anticipation all day and when more sand collapsed around 5:45pm, they cleared the sand from the entrance of the nest to pave a way out for the hatchlings so they could make their way into the sea.
The nest contained a total of 128 eggs and 97 hatchlings successfully made it from the beach into the sea (76%). Two of the hatchlings died in the hatching process and a further 29 eggs had not developed. The eggs had a total incubation period of 58 days.
Only one in 1000 sea turtle hatchlings are thought to make it to adulthood. Without guidance, many hatchlings die from dehydration because they don’t make it to the ocean fast enough. Artificial lights confuse turtle hatchlings and can cause them to waddle in the wrong direction away from the shore. Birds, crabs and other animals also prey on the baby turtles. With the park rangers help, an amazing 97 hatchlings made it to the sea, raising their chance of survival massively.
Almost one month ago, park rangers at Surin Islands National Park discovered another green sea turtle nest containing 112 eggs. The park rangers carefully relocated the eggs because the nest was located in a potential flood zone and at risk of being eaten by animals. Following the two month incubation trajectory, there should be another big hatching in around a month’s time, thanks to the park rangers’ hard work.
Green sea turtles are listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The park rangers’ work is integral to the survival of the species in Thailand.
The Surin Islands are an archipelago of of five islands just 18km from the oceanic border of Myanmar. The national park covers an area of 135 square kilometres, 76% of which is sea. The islands are considered one of the best diving spots in Thailand in light of the diversity of marine life found there. The islands are home to more than 260 species of reef fish, 68 species of coral, 48 species of nudibranchs (colourful soft-bodied marine gastropod molluscs) and 31 species of shrimp.
The most impressive species found in the island’s waters are barracudas, reef sharks, leopard sharks, many species of sea turtles, various kinds of rays and pufferfish. Rarely, manta rays and whale sharks visit the islands too.
SOURCE: Mo Ku Surin National Park