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Endangered baby turtles released to the sea

Update: July, 15/2019 - 16:56

 

Baby turtles move toward the ocean from their nests on a beach at the Chàm Islands. As many as 250 turtle eggs were moved from southern Côn Đảo Island to the Chàm Islands as part of a sea turtle conservation programme. — VNS Photo Nguyễn Văn Vũ   

CHÀM ISLANDS — Baby turtles (Cheloniidae) hatched from eggs that had been moved to a beach in the Chàm Islands' Marine Protected Area (MPA) were released into the ocean last weekend by the MPA's management board.

Two weeks ago, as many as 250 eggs were moved to the Chàm Islands from Côn Đảo Island National Park, located in southern Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province 1,000 kilometres away. 

Nguyễn Văn Vũ, MPA's vice director, said the turtle eggs had been laid by mothers in nests at the Côn Đảo park 40 days before they were moved to the Chàm Islands. 

The eggs were placed in artificial nests on pristine beaches, and after 16 days in strict protection and warm sand, more than 90 per cent of the eggs hatched successfully.

As part of a turtle conservation programme for the 2017-19 period, another batch of 250 turtle eggs, the last of this year, will be delivered to the Chàm Islands this summer, Vũ said.

According to MPA, more than 1,600 turtle eggs have been moved to the Chàm Islands since 2017 for hatching. Of these, 1,200 baby turtles have been released to the sea.

The green sea turtle species is listed as one of five endangered ones in Việt Nam’s Red Book.

Turtle eggs are placed in an artificial nest on a protected beach on the Chàm Islands off the coast of Hội An. — VNS Photo Công Thành 

Turtle researcher Lê Xuân Ái from MPA said that only one out of 1,000 baby turtles can survive after growing from hatched eggs.

Baby turtles often return to the beach where they were born to lay eggs when they reach maturity, according to Ái.

Authorities are planning to build a turtle conservation area on an area of 40sq.km of beach and water on Bấc beach in the Chàm Islands.

Since 2017, at least 20 turtles have been captured by fishing nets in waters off the Islands, but only nine were healthy enough to return to their natural habitat. Some turtles died because they were trapped in nets for a long period.

A World Biosphere Reserve, the Chàm Islands banned plastic bag usage among local residents and tourists in 2011. It was the first site in Việt Nam to do so.

The islands, with a population of 3,000, are a popular site for ecotours. They are located near the UNESCO-recognised Hội An ancient town. — VNS

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