Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Female Green Turtle Returns!!!

Once sea turtles start laying eggs you can start to narrow down the date when they will return again. Creatures of habit these swimming reptiles are. Lucky us. Knowing the date is coming up round here gets our blood boiling. A large female Green turtle dropped 121 eggs within the first half hour of 14 April. She chose Mentawak beach, where JTP is located, so there's a strong shot she was born here 25-30 years ago since the mommas return to where they were born. This species' renesting interval is 10 - 14 days so starting two nights ago our eyes were wide when we strolled the beach at night.

Alli getting in there! It was her first time collecting as a turtle laid eggs. Exciting!
She didn't come back after 10 days, but on the 11th, she came through! Charlie got the call as we were hopping on the motorbikes after a superb dinner (my belly was bursting with potato curry and peanut chicken) in Juara. Onward we went! By the time Alli and I arrived with the processing gear she was flicking sand out with her front flippers and bout to deliver some eggs. Excellent timing!

The whole shebang! 104 total.
Everything played out quite nice-ty (as Bootsy sings). We had a full house in attendance. Besides Alli and I, Charlie, Izati (also full-time at JTP), Ina, Dani (German hatchery intern), another German (his name slips my mind), and Michelle (our new volunteer from Holland) were all there gazing at a huge shell tinged in red light. After she dug the egg hole with her rear flippers (the process looks remarkably like a construction scooper), the eggs started plopping down on the sand. And this time Alli got in there, shoulder deep, and scooped some eggs out (Arizona represent!). She loved it. Having a sticky sea turtle egg fall on the top of your hand is quite the feeling.
The female Green turtle after she did her work. She was breathing heavy after it all!
All in all this time only 104 eggs total, 17 less than last time. We need to figure out why the number dropped. The eggs are under the sand in our hatchery now. In about 2 months the babies will scurry up. And in 11 days we can expect the momma to return to plop out some more. The nesting season is hopefully ramping up! The more the merrier round here.
Her tracks back to the sea around 630 hours this morning. Still there and looking solid in the morning light.

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