Over 500 baby turtles rescued from stormy seas

| 11/10/2018 | 15 Comments
Cayman News Service

Volunteer Jane Hardwick rescues hatchlings

(CNS): Hundreds of baby turtles were rescued this week by volunteers and staff from the Department of Environment after Hurricane Michael stirred up high seas as it passed through this area of the Caribbean. The wave action washed over many nests along Grand Cayman’s beaches, where the baby turtles were not all ready to hatch. On Monday and Tuesday visiting scientist Evelyn Denton and the DoE teams checked dozens of nests that were due to hatch and found 546 live hatchlings that they were able to rescue and keep safe until they were ready to make their way into the sea.

“Some we kept in buckets, a few were even kept in a volunteer’s bathroom sink,” Denton said. “We released about 150 on Monday night and will release the rest over the next few days.”

Officials explained that turtle eggs buried deep in the sand can withstand some waves washing over their nests. However, if the nest is entirely eroded and the eggs wash out to sea, or if the turtles are deprived of oxygen for a long time due to heavy, wet sand collapsing on their egg, most will not survive.

Once they hatch, baby turtles are still vulnerable to high waves. If the waves keep washing over their nests while they are digging themselves out of the sand (which can take several days) it becomes very difficult for the baby turtles to escape.

The peak turtle season is between May and November but the season can start as early as April and last through the rest of the year, with hatchlings still emerging even in January. The rescue work this week was carried out by scientists and trained volunteers, and DoE officials urged residents and visitors not to disturb turtle nests or to attempt to help the baby turtles emerge from their nests.

Anyone who sees a turtle nest in danger of being damaged or washed out is asked to call the 24-hour turtle hotline at 938-NEST (6378).

You can also contact DoE Research Officer Janice Blumenthal at 244- 5970 or Janice.blumenthal@gov.ky.

For more information on turtles or other protected species in the Cayman Islands, or to learn how to become a volunteer with DoE, contact DoE Public Education and Outreach Officer Brent Fuller at 244-5984 or 922-5514 or via email at brent.fuller@gov.ky

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Category: Land Habitat, Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (15)

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  1. Ron Ebanks says:

    Do we all see the efforts of what the volunteers are doing ? If the volunteers didn’t rescue these baby turtles , there would be those less to keep the turtles population alive , it’s called conservation , what everyone should be involved in .
    Just think about it if there was no more turtles left in the ocean to see or eat . The same theory should be seen for all other marine resources , we all have to get involved volunteering in the efforts for saving all resources from EXTINCTION , because when it’s gone , it’s gone .

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  2. Anonymous says:

    What is all this environmental mumbo jumbo, turtles are like doritoes. Go ahead, eat the whole bag, God will make more.

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    • Anonymous says:

      This comment has to be a joke…Please Anonymous at 8:25am tell us this was just a pot stirring of a comment. I’m sure you are aware that all seven species of Sea turtles are endangered species on some level between threatened and critically endangered, meaning almost extinct.

  3. Ron Ebanks says:

    Thanks to the volunteers of the DOE for rescuing the baby turtles.
    It looks like they are the best part of the DOE , and keep up the good work and maybe they should broaden themselves in the DOE .

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  4. Anonymous says:

    No. Why wouldn’t caring humans want to intervene??? Haven’t we already given them enough roadblocks to deal with upon hatching? The least we can do is offer a helping hand.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Because caring but misinformed humans tend to muck it up more than they help. Generally speaking, leave the nests alone. If you’re not sure, do what the article said and call 938-NEST (6378) to find out if your’e really going to be helping, or if you’re going to be hindering.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is a short-sighted comment. Is it nature’s way for humans to harvest turtles to near extinction for commercial gain? Or poach them locally? What the volunteers are doing is trying to counter the human effects on turtles by trying to save as many as possible.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Yeah. We should also just let people poach them too. Idiot.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Shame, they make the best soup.

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    • Ron Ebanks says:

      Anonymous 9 : 41 pm , you would have to be part cannibal to write and say what you wrote in that comment . If you are one that would eat baby turtles , I think that because of that kind of mentality you should consider changing it , because it’s not healthy and smart . So please change your behaviour for the world , and everyone would-be happy for you .

      Just think that , if you had let the baby turtles grow up and they had 100’s more baby turtles , then there would be a few more hundreds of turtles , but wouldn’t be anymore turtles left because you ate them before they could reproduce .

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Well done!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful to see some good news for a change! Well done to all that helped to save these baby turtles.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Great job!

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Let’s dont let nature take its course, Eh?

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Great work!

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Cayman News Service