Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hatchlings at Jalova

Jalova had its first hatchling sighting this week. On a morning census of the beach to check nests of turtles worked during night walks, Field Coordinator Richard Phillips and Scholar Tucker Smith came across some exciting tracks. A Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) nest had hatched and its occupants made their momentous first journey to the sea. They knew the nest must have hatched in the last few hours because they hadn’t seen the tracks in their way up the beach. It was guessed that their emergence was brought on by the heavy rain that morning. With the start of Green Turtle season still more than a month away the tracks were quite a surprise.
Rich and Tucker marked the nest and later that day it was excavated. Ninety hatched eggs were found in the nest, along with five unhatched and five yolkless eggs, giving the nest an excellent 90% hatch rate. Also found in the nest was a live hatchling.

It was quickly liberated and pointed in the direction of the sea. It made the journey without a hitch, sliding into the ocean to join its fellow hatchlings. “It’s exciting to see tracks,” said Tucker, “it makes you think that turtle season is in full flow now.”