[WATCH] 22 loggerhead turtles hatch overnight in Ramla l-Ħamra

22 loggerhead turtles hatch in a surprise discovery by the public • The nest will be monitored for three days for the protection of any remaining eggs

The hatchlings emerging during the night and making their way to the sea (Photo:Wildlife Rescue Team Malta)
The hatchlings emerging during the night and making their way to the sea (Photo:Wildlife Rescue Team Malta)

At least 22 loggerhead turtles hatched from an unreported nest in Ramla l-Ħamra, Gozo on Friday night.  Nature Trust Malta was informed of the hatchlings discovery by the public.

The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) said that the nest was close to last year’s nests in the bay but since the nest was undiscovered, no protection had been provided, which raised fears of a low outcome of hatchlings.

ERA said it erected a perimeter around the site and constant monitoring of the nest will continue, to ascertain the number of hatched and unhatched eggs. The nest will be eventually cleaned in order to protect any remaining eggs.

MaltaToday contacted Nature Trust, which said that the area will be monitored for around two three days. It also remarked that because of today’s rain, the nest will get colder, which might lead to any remaining eggs hatching prematurely.

Apart from monitoring the area for any illegal human activity, it will also be on the lookout for any predators like the vicious ghost crab that is known for feating on eggs. Since this predator is also protected, it makes the situation a bit more delecate.

ERA said that it would like to raise awareness on the importance of reporting any turtle nests, as to ensure the adequate protection and increase the chances of survival.

The loggerhead turtle

The loggerhead turtle (il-fekruna l-komuni), is a long-living, slowly maturing marine species that inhabits tropical to warm temperate areas.

This species is classified as globally endangered by the World Conservation Area (IUCN) and is also protected by various national and international legislation.

Capturing, killing, taking, and trading these turtles (including its hatchlings), as well as the deliberate disturbance of these species, particularly during the period of breeding, rearing and migration, is prohibited and subject to legal action.

The national Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations impose a minimum fine of nearly €500 and going up to nearly €2400 for each egg that may be destroyed or taken from the wild.