Volunteers to keep watch over turtle egg nest for one more week
Nature Trust Malta President Vince Attard told The Malta Independent that the turtle nest at Golden Bay will continue to be observed until Wednesday 5 October, in case there are more eggs to hatch.
After that, he said, he will initiate discussions with the environment authority to seek permission to dig up the nest, and “check whether there were any eggs that did not hatch, and why, for data purposes”.
Mr Attard said that eggs usually hatch between two to three days of each other.
Over 60 sea turtles hatched inside their nest at Għajn Tuffieħa early yesterday morning and made their way to the sea, to the delight of environmentalists who had been watching over the eggs for several weeks.
There were concerns over the past few days as it was thought that storm weather and noisy activities in the vicinity could affect the turtles but all seemed to be normal as the little turtles sprouted from the sand during the night.
Environmentalists made sure that lighting in the area was reduced as much as possible as movement in the nest was first detected at around 2am. They also used infra-red lights to guide the turtles into the sea, seeing that there was no moonlight last night.
Volunteers had been standing watch around the nest, which was protected by barriers and sand bags, ever since the mother turtle laid her eggs at the beginning of August.
Loggerhead turtles are classified as endangered. More turtles could hatch in the next few days and environmentalists will be keeping watch.
Mr Attard wrote on Facebook: “A big well done to all volunteers who gave their free time to guard the nest round the clock. All sacrifices have finally given us excellent results. Thank you all for all your help and time. We will keep monitoring the nest for a few more days now. This wonderful day is thanks to you all who faced heat and rain to make sure the nest was always safe – from rats, other predators, dangers, etc. Thanks goes to Karen for the hard work in keeping the timetable and shifts in place. We had the ups and downs but we made it – Malta has a successful turtle hatching 2016 Thanks all – Vince.”
In a statement, the Environment and Resources Authority said that at about 4.10am, when it was thought that the hatching episode was over, a last hatchling that had just emerged was noticed making its way to sea. “The entire operation continued till about 4.20am, after which a thorough check was made around the bay to check for any stranded hatchlings, but none were found”.
“It is hoped that a good number of these turtles reach adulthood and will eventually return back to Malta for other nesting episodes in another 25-30 years”.
The ERA thanked all involved, especially the Ministry for Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Change, Transport Malta, the Malta Tourism Authority, the Malta Police Force, Enemalta and the Cleansing Department, Nature Trust and Majjistral Park and other volunteers, and all the establishments who cooperated fully to ensure the success of this event.
Photographs: Chris G for Nature Trust Malta