History repeats itself… The 2nd week of March 2017 was one of the most exciting weeks for the sea turtle conservation project.
Over hundreds of sea turtle eggs hatched on Kodi and Maravante beaches, at Kundapura, on the West coast of Karnataka, during the night. The sea turtle conservation team of FSL-India stayed at the beaches to help the small reptiles crawl out of the hatchery and reach the sea.
The eggs, which needed to be protected from natural threats and predators like dogs, humans and crabs, belong to the species of Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys Olivacea). After approx. 52 days in the sand, the hatchlings took the chance to begin the biggest journey of their lives, but unfortunately, only a few of them will survive until the age of 15, when some will return to the mainland, to start new generations.
From some nests just about twenty turtles managed to reach the Indian Ocean but during the next night, more than 100 turtles hatched within a few hours, between both the beaches.
It is said that female turtles born on these beaches will return to the same place after 15 years to lay their eggs! However, for many years, due to different challenges like harbour construction, deep sea fishing, pollution and human-made infrastructure, the turtles did not return to Kundapur to lay their eggs, but this season they are back! Sea turtles are important for marine ecosystems because our oceans are unhealthy and under significant threat from overfishing, pollution and climatic changes. It is time for us to protect the sea turtles and rebuild their population, as for millions of years, they have played a vital role in ensuring the health of the world’s oceans by maintaining healthy sea grass beds and coral reefs, providing a key habitat for other marine life, helping to balance marine food webs and facilitating nutrient cycling from water to land.
It was thrilling to be present for the first steps in the life cycle of the sea turtles and our sea turtle conservation team is looking forward to repeat the experience with many other nests in the next few days.