Group releases turtles

THE Mamanuca Environment Society successfully released 11 hawksbill turtle hatchlings along the beach at Tavua Village in Mamanuca this week.

The hatchlings were found by members of the Survivor Entertainment Group early last month.

SEG biosecurity officer Joey Brown said several other hatchlings had been found dead.

MES Sea Turtle Conservation Project director Ilisapeci Sokidi said the turtles were eager to crawl on the beach.

MES was able to monitor the hatchlings for a month before their release back at Tavua Village.

“A majority of the clutch seemed to make it successfully down to the ocean, but several hatchlings were found dead on the beach because of being entangled in vine plants and dehydrated from being stuck out in the early morning sun,” he said. “Luckily, I was able to rescue 11 of these injured hatchlings and return them back to the Mana Turtle Recovery Pond so they could be nursed back to health.”

Scientifically, this was referred to as imprinting, which was considered critical to the development of navigational cues which would enable them to return to their beach of birth when they began to nest later in life.

“Once in the water the hatchlings swam directly out to sea, facing a perilous struggle to survive to adulthood,” she said.

“We do hope these hatchlings reach adulthood.”

MES continued to work closely with conservation partners, member resorts, schools and communities in spearheading the gospel of turtle conservation to safeguard the protection of the critically endangered sea turtle population.

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