Jul 8, 2013

Volunteers Form Human Wall to Guide Baby Turtles to Sea

volunteers help guide loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings to sea (1)

Photograph Courtesy of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire
Website | Facebook Album

 

On July 1st, 2013 at 4:00 pm local time, 112 Loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings began to climb to the top of their nest in the sand.

 

volunteers help guide loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings to sea (2)

Photograph Courtesy of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire
Website | Facebook Album

 

The eggs hatched 52 days after laying on the beaches of the Dutch-owned Caribbean island of Bonaire.

 

volunteers help guide loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings to sea (3)

Photograph Courtesy of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire
Website | Facebook Album

 

In a recent interview with ABC News, Sue Willis, program director of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire stated:

“This group of baby turtles hatched on a beach next to an airport. After the turtles hatch they crawl toward the brightest light they see, which is usually the moon over the ocean. But the airport’s bright lights distract the turtles and make them crawl in the wrong direction. Two years ago we lost an entire group of hatchlings after they crawled onto a busy road”

 

volunteers help guide loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings to sea (4)

Photograph Courtesy of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire
Website | Facebook Album

 

To insure the baby loggerhead turtles did not crawl in the wrong direction, a human wall of volunteers formed to help guide the hatchlings to see. In exchange for their assistance, the volunteers were able to witness one of nature’s many amazing events.

 

volunteers help guide loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings to sea (5)

Photograph Courtesy of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire
Website | Facebook Album

 

Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire documented the entire event. Click here to see the complete 73-picture gallery!

 

volunteers help guide loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings to sea (6)

Photograph Courtesy of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire
Website | Facebook Album

 

The loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) is considered an endangered species and is protected by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The oceanic turtle is distributed throughout the world and averages around 90 cm (35 in) long when fully grown, although larger specimens of up to 280 cm (110 in) have been discovered.

The adult loggerhead sea turtle weighs approximately 135 kg (300 lb), with the largest specimens weighing in at more than 450 kg (1,000 lb). They have an average lifespan of 47-67 years. [Source]

 

volunteers help guide loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings to sea (7)

Photograph Courtesy of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire
Website | Facebook Album

 

Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) is a non-governmental research and conservation organization that has been protecting endangered sea turtles since 1991. STCB’s mission is to ensure the protection and recovery of Bonaire’s sea turtle populations throughout their range.

WWF-Netherlands provides flagship funding for STCB’s work. They are also a member of the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) and a project partner of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA).

 

volunteers help guide loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings to sea (8)

Photograph Courtesy of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire
Website | Facebook Album

 

Back in 2007, Jacquelyn Kay Lorne and Michael Salmon of the Department of Biological Services at Florida Atlantic University wrote a paper entitled: Effects of exposure to artificial lighting on orientation of hatchling sea turtles on the beach and in the ocean.

The paper was published in the journal Endangered Species Research, Volume 3: 23-30, 2007.

 

volunteers help guide loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings to sea (9)

Photograph Courtesy of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire
Website | Facebook Album

 

 

volunteers help guide loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings to sea (10)

Photograph Courtesy of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire
Website | Facebook Album

 

 

volunteers help guide loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings to sea (11)

Photograph Courtesy of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire
Website | Facebook Album

 

 

volunteers help guide loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings to sea (12)

Photograph Courtesy of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire
Website | Facebook Album

 

 

 

 

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