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Turtle eggs hatch in Golden Bay

66 turtle eggs hatched early this morning and made their way to the sea

jeanelle_mifsud
Jeanelle Mifsud
27 September 2016, 8:00am
A 'miracle' at Golden Bay: turtles hatch under the watchful eye of environmentalists [Photo: Chris G for Nature Trust (Malta)]
A 'miracle' at Golden Bay: turtles hatch under the watchful eye of environmentalists [Photo: Chris G for Nature Trust (Malta)]
The turtle eggs in Golden Bay hatched early yesterday morning under the close watch of environmentalists.

Around 66 turtles emerged from their eggs, with the first signs of movement appearing at 1:10am. According to Nature Trust Malta President Vince Attard, the hatching continued until 4:30am.

“We will continue to monitor the sight for any late hatchlings for the next seven days,” Attard added.

There was reportedly concern around the lights at the bay, so using infra-red lights, those present guided the freshly hatched turtles to the sea.

All lights were reportedly turned off, but since there was no moon yesterday night, environmentalists feared the turtles could become disorientated by the lights of the nearby hotel.

“ERA officials were very helpful, and contacted the nearby hotels and kiosks to turn off their lights. Those who were asked complied,” Attard said.

Over the past weeks volunteers had dug a trench from the nest to the sea.

Attard explained that the recent rainy weather cooled down the temperature of the sand, and therefore those involved were aware of the possibility of early hatching.

However, the rain also posed the risk of drowning the fragile eggs.

Back in 2012, another turtle had laid eggs in Gnejna Bay, however, these had become water-logged, killing the embryos inside, according to the authority which was then known as MEPA.

The loggerhead turtle had nested at Golden Bay, laying between 40 to 100 eggs in the early hours of the morning on 2 August.

Nature Trust Malta had immediately closed off the area and called on volunteers to help watch over the site and to ensure that no damage is caused by passers-by, after ERA officials confirmed that eggs had been laid shortly before midnight.

Loggerhead turtles tend to lay between three and six nests a season, with up to 130 eggs in each nest. Female turtles eventually return to the beach where they were born to lay their own eggs.

The turtles are classified as globally endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

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